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Don't Discount the Power of Gen X

Seven in 10 will make a digital purchase this year

September 15, 2015

Fixated on the fact Gen Xers are less numerous than millennials or baby boomers, pundits miss the point that Gen X is a large market, some 65 million strong. Members of Generation X are also in a high-earning, high-spending phase of life, which cannot be said of the much-touted but unprosperous millennials. But Gen X—consisting of consumers ages 35 to 50—is tricky to approach, due in part to financial pressures a succession of recessions have imposed on it. A new eMarketer report, “Giving Gen X Its Due: Analyzing a Market of 65 Million Consumers,” explores the demographic and their online and offline shopping habits.

US Digital Buyer Penetration, by Age, 2013-2019 (% of population in each group)

As a highly digital cohort, Gen Xers naturally incorporate digital tools into their shopping. They also blend online and offline shopping in ways that best suit their needs.

eMarketer estimates that slightly more than seven in 10 Gen Xers will make digital purchases this year, with the proportion approaching eight in 10 by the end of the decade.

Level of Brand Loyalty According to Gen X Internet Users in North America, June 2015 (% of respondents)

Career and child-rearing have put many Gen Xers in a hectic phase of life, and this can yield an inclination to spend more money for the sake of convenience. According to Erin Winters, vice president of marketing strategy for marketing and data technology company Acxiom, Gen Xers are "not being profligate about spending, but you're definitely going to value certain conveniences if it saves you time."

Gen Xers' consumer choices are also influenced by a degree of brand loyalty that is surprising in a cohort supposedly disenchanted with the corporate world. In a June 2015 survey by multichannel loyalty and analytics company CrowdTwist, nearly half of Gen X internet users polled in North America characterized themselves as extremely or quite loyal to favorite brands.

eMarketer corporate subscription clients can view the full report here.

Get more on this topic with the full eMarketer report, “Giving Gen X Its Due: Analyzing a Market of 65 Million Consumers.”

eMarketer releases over 200 analyst reports per year, which are only available to eMarketer corporate subscribers.


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