Where US Gen X Stands: A Hard-Luck Cohort that Is Too Important to Neglect - eMarketer
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Where US Gen X Stands: A Hard-Luck Cohort that Is Too Important to Neglect

eMarketer Report

By: eMarketer

Published: February 27, 2017

Jump to: Executive Summary | Table of Contents | List of Charts

Executive Summary

Forget the notion that Gen X is a small market: It isn’t. The real problem for marketers is that Xers—though now earning and spending more per household than other generations—are financially stressed. The good news? Their digital usage, along with their TV viewing, makes them eminently reachable.

  • Gen Xers are less numerous than millennials or boomers. But at some 66 million, they are hardly a small cohort.
  • Xers have higher per-household income and expenditures than millennials or boomers. But thanks partly to a pair of recessions, their income growth has been subpar. Homeownership has often been more a trap than a boon. With too little wealth and too much debt, they are in the vanguard of downward mobility.
  • The good news for marketers is that Xers are highly digital, with most using the internet and social media, and most owning smartphones. They’re less experimental in their usage than younger people, which makes them easier for digital marketers to find—on Facebook, for instance. They are also reachable via TV.
  • Digital shopping is popular among Xers, with about three-quarters buying online. Prepurchase attention to online reviews is important to Xers, as they seek to get the most from tight budgets. Digital coupons are key for this cost-conscious cohort.
  • Attitudes toward advertising are mixed at best, and a sizable minority of Xers use ad blockers.

"Smartphones and social media both have a big presence among Xers, and usage of the two often converges."

Table of Contents

A Generational Mixed Bag

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Auditing Gen Xers’ Finances

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A Digital—but Not Overly Digital—Cohort

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Xers as Digital Shoppers

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Conclusions

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30 charts are included in the full report:

Where US Gen X Stands: A Hard-Luck Cohort that Is Too Important to Neglect

Share of Time Spent with Social Media Among US Social Media Users, by Device and Age, Q3 2016 (% of total)

Auditing Gen Xers’ Finances

Income and Annual Expenditures of US Households, by Age, 2015

US Internet Users Who Plan to Increase Spending on Important* vs. Fun** Purchases in 2017, by Generation (% of respondents in each group)

Retirement on the Xer Horizon

US Internet Users Who Worry About Not Having Enough Money to Retire*, by Generation, July 2016 (% of respondents in each group)

Home Inequity

US Home Ownership Rates, by Age, Q4 2016 (% of population)

A Digital—but Not Overly Digital—Cohort

US Gen X Internet Users and Penetration, 2015-2021 (millions, % change and % of Gen X population)

Weekly Time Spent Online by US Internet Users, by Generation, Sep 2016 (% of respondents)

US Internet Users Who Subscribe to Netflix, by Age, Nov 2016 (% of respondents in each group)

Nostalgic* YouTube Videos Viewed by US Gen X Internet Users, by Type, Sep 2016 (% of respondents)

Average Time Spent per Day with TV* Among US Adult TV Viewers, by Generation, 2013-2018 (hrs:mins)

Xers Go Mobile

US Gen X Smartphone Users and Penetration, 2015-2021 (millions, % change and % of Gen X population)

Primary Smartphone Activity Conducted by US Internet Users, by Age, Jan 2017 (% of respondents in each group)

US Internet Users Who Watch Video via Smartphone/Tablet, by Age, Sep 2016 (% of respondents in each group)

Share of Time Spent Online Among US Internet Users, by Age and Platform, June 2016 (% of total in each group)

US Internet Users Who Say They Are Addicted to Their Digital Devices, by Age, July 2016 (% of respondents)

Xers as Social Networkers

US Gen X Social Network Users and Penetration, 2015-2021 (millions, % change and % of Gen X internet users)

Weekly Time Spent with Social Media Among US Adults, by Age, Q3 2016

US Facebook, Instagram & Snapchat Daily Users, by Age, Aug 2016 (% of respondents in each group)

Change/Expected Change in Time Spent Using Facebook over the Past Year vs. Next Year According to US Facebook Users, by Age, Nov 2016 (% of respondents in each group)

US Gen X Instagram Users and Penetration, 2015-2021 (millions, % change and % of Gen X smartphone users)

Social Media Platforms on Which US Internet Users Have an Account, by Demographic, Aug 2016 (% of respondents in each group)

US Social Media Users Who Watch Video Daily on Select Social Media Platforms, by Age, June 2016 (% of respondents in each group)

Xers as Digital Shoppers

US Digital Buyer Penetration, by Age, 2017 (% of population)

Products Purchased Digitally by US Internet Users, by Demographic, June 2016 (% of respondents in each group)

Primary Factor that Would Make US Internet Users More Likely to Shop via Mobile Device, by Age, Jan 2017 (% of respondents in each group)

US Internet Users Who Plan to Webroom* During the Holiday Season, by Age, Sep 2016 (% of respondents in each group)

US Facebook Users Who Use Social Media to Research Products/Services, by Age, Q3 2016 (% of respondents in each group)

Types of Digital Coupons Redeemed for Grocery Items by US Grocery Buyers, by Demographic, May 2016 (% of respondents in each group)

Preferred Types of Digital Ads According to US Internet Users, by Age, Oct 2016 (% of respondents in each group)

US Ad Blocking User Penetration, by Age, 2014-2018 (% of internet users)