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Marketing to Gen X - US - April 2011

Sandwiched between the Millennial and Baby Boomer segments, Generation X (Gen X) has come of age. As this generation enters their late thirties and forties, they hardly represent the “slacker” stereotype that media pundits used to describe the generation in the 1990s. Indeed, many are reaching their peak earning years and have embraced family as a core component of their identity and lifestyle. In many ways, Gen X has come to represent mainstream America.

While most companies can benefit by developing strong brand relationships with Gen Xers, it is also evident that many of these consumers are suspicious of advertising and may ignore messaging that does not contain information they feel is directly relevant to them. As such, it is important to examine the attitudes and behaviors that are common within this segment in order to ensure that messaging resonates with these well-educated, tech-savvy consumers. In order to provide insights that can be used to help marketers effectively communicate with the segment, Mintel has published this report which addresses the following questions.

  • How are Gen Xers similar to and distinct from other generations such as Baby Boomers and Millennials?
  • What are the top life priorities and concerns of Gen Xers?
  • How did the segment react to the recession, and to what degree do Gen Xers feel financially prepared for the future?
  • To what extent do Gen Xers use various types of technology such as computers, smartphones and the internet?
  • How do Gen Xers feel about advertising, and to what degree does it influence their decision-making?
  • What messaging platforms and themes are marketers using to target the segment?

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Table of contents

  1. Scope and Themes

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
        • Data sources
          • Consumer survey data
            • Advertising creative
              • Abbreviations and terms
                • Abbreviations
                  • Terms
                  • Executive Summary

                    • Nearly one in six Americans are Gen Xers
                      • Nearly one in five Gen Xers are non-white
                        • Homeownership, marriage, and parenthood are key characteristics of Gen X
                          • Most attended college; median household incomes of approximately $65K
                            • Most are professionals in white-collar positions
                              • Work/family life balance a top priority for Gen Xers
                                • Target Gen Xers with programs that help families save for the future
                                  • Many, especially women, seeking better health
                                    • Consider emphasizing home entertainment offering in communications
                                      • Most are tech savvy and use internet to do products research
                                      • Insights and Opportunities

                                        • Get real and focus on the facts
                                          • Offer family-oriented entertainment
                                            • Where appropriate, highlight contributions and corporate responsibility
                                              • Figure 1: Interest in types of social responsibility, by age/generation, June 2010
                                            • Gen Xers haven’t lost their “cool”
                                              • Gen X women playing on a more level field
                                              • Inspire Insights

                                                  • Trend: Transumers
                                                  • Demographic Profile

                                                    • Key points
                                                      • Gen X is sandwiched between two significantly larger generations
                                                        • Figure 2: U.S. population estimates, by generation, 2010
                                                      • Gen X more ethnically diverse than prior generations
                                                        • Figure 3: U.S. share of population estimates, by generation and race/Hispanic origin, 2009
                                                      • Nearly two thirds of Gen Xers are married
                                                        • Figure 4: Marital status of Gen X, by gender, 2009
                                                      • Kids and larger household size more common among Gen Xers
                                                        • Figure 5: Number of persons and children younger than 18 per consumer unit, by age/generation of reference person, 2009
                                                      • Nearly two thirds of Gen Xers are homeowners
                                                        • Figure 6: Homeownership by age/generation of reference person, 2009
                                                    • Socioeconomic Profile

                                                      • Key points
                                                        • Most Gen Xers have attended college
                                                          • Figure 7: Educational attainment, by age/generation, July 2009-Sept. 2010
                                                        • The largest segment of Gen X are professionals or work in management
                                                          • Figure 8: Occupation of Gen X, by gender, 2009
                                                        • Gen X unemployment rate is lower than younger age groups
                                                          • Figure 9: Unemployment, by age/generation, 2010
                                                          • Figure 10: Unemployment and underemployment, Jan. 2007-March 2011
                                                        • Gen X median household income higher than all but Baby Boomers
                                                          • Figure 11: Median and mean household income, by age of householder, 2009
                                                        • Spending is significantly higher among Gen X compared to average
                                                          • Gen Xers a key segment for food, housing, and apparel
                                                            • Figure 12: Average annual expenditures, by age/generation of reference person, 2009
                                                        • Gen X Marketing Strategies

                                                          • Overview
                                                            • Pepsi Max
                                                              • Brand analysis
                                                                • Figure 13: Brand analysis of Pepsi Max
                                                              • Facebook
                                                                • Figure 14: Pepsi Max bottle and Facebook promotion, 2011
                                                              • Twitter
                                                                • YouTube
                                                                  • Television advertising
                                                                    • Figure 15: Pepsi Max ad, 2011
                                                                    • Figure 16: Pepsi Max ad, 2011
                                                                  • E*TRADE
                                                                    • Brand analysis
                                                                      • Figure 17: Brand analysis of E*TRADE
                                                                    • Website
                                                                      • Figure 18: Quantcast estimates for E*TRADE.com, Sept. 2010-Feb. 2011
                                                                    • Facebook
                                                                      • YouTube
                                                                        • Television advertising
                                                                          • Figure 19: E*TRADE ad, 2010
                                                                          • Figure 20: E*TRADE ad, 2010
                                                                        • Toyota Sienna
                                                                          • Brand analysis
                                                                            • Figure 21: Brand analysis of Toyota Sienna
                                                                          • Website
                                                                            • Facebook
                                                                              • YouTube
                                                                                • Figure 22: Toyota Sienna, Swagger Wagon web video, 2010
                                                                                • Figure 23: Toyota Sienna, Daddy Like Bonding Time web video, 2010
                                                                                • Figure 24: Toyota Sienna, Mommy Like Versatility Web video, 2010
                                                                              • Microsoft Windows 7
                                                                                • Brand analysis
                                                                                  • Figure 25: Brand analysis of Windows 7
                                                                                • Website
                                                                                  • Facebook
                                                                                    • Twitter
                                                                                      • Television advertising
                                                                                        • Figure 26: Windows 7, Parental controls ad, 2010
                                                                                        • Figure 27: Windows 7, HomeGroup ad, 2010
                                                                                    • Innovations and Innovators

                                                                                      • Inviting nostalgia may help a brand stand out in the minds of Gen Xers
                                                                                        • Figure 28: Volkswagen Passat ad, 2011
                                                                                      • Make use of social media to target Gen X
                                                                                        • Some target the segment by allaying investment fears
                                                                                          • iPad marketers targeting Gen X
                                                                                          • Priorities and Concerns

                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                              • Balancing family life/work important to three quarters of Gen Xers
                                                                                                  • Figure 29: Non-work life priorities, by gender, Jan. 2011
                                                                                                • Affluent Gen Xers want to be seen as unique individuals
                                                                                                  • Figure 30: Non-work life priorities, by household income, Jan. 2011
                                                                                                • The economy remains a primary concern among Gen Xers
                                                                                                  • Figure 31: Change in concerns compared to last year, Jan. 2011
                                                                                                • Affluents less likely to report being concerned about various issues
                                                                                                  • Figure 32: More concerned compared to last year, by household income, Jan. 2011
                                                                                              • Economic Influences

                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                  • Gen Xers somewhat more likely than other age groups to expect job change
                                                                                                      • Figure 33: Employment changes in the last 12 months/expected in the next 12 months, by gender, July 2009-Sept. 2010
                                                                                                    • Gen Xers more likely to have made major purchases in last year
                                                                                                      • Figure 34: Major expenses in the last 12 months/expected in the next 12 months, by age, July 2009-Sept. 2010
                                                                                                    • Middle-income Gen Xers concerned about retirement savings and funding children’s education
                                                                                                        • Figure 35: Household primary financial concerns, by household income, Jan. 2011
                                                                                                      • Married Gen Xers, those with kids tend to have more financial concerns
                                                                                                        • Figure 36: Household primary financial concerns, by marital status and presence of children, Jan. 2011
                                                                                                    • Economic Outlook

                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                        • Many Gen Xers continue to struggle post-recession
                                                                                                          • Figure 37: Current financial situation compared to 12 months ago, by gender/age, July 2009-Sept. 2010
                                                                                                        • Gen Xers optimistic about their personal finances in the coming year
                                                                                                          • Figure 38: Financial situation in 12 months compared to now, by gender/age, July 2009-Sept. 2010
                                                                                                        • One in three think overall economy will improve in next year
                                                                                                          • Figure 39: American economy in 12 months compared to now, by gender/age, July 2009-Sept. 2010
                                                                                                      • Diet and Lifestyle

                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                          • Half of Gen Xers are watching their diet
                                                                                                            • Figure 40: Presently watching diet and reasons why, by gender, July 2009-Sept. 2010
                                                                                                          • Women more likely to engage in healthy behaviors
                                                                                                            • Figure 41: Diet and lifestyle typical behaviors, by gender, Jan. 2011
                                                                                                          • Affluent Gen Xers tend to be more health-oriented
                                                                                                            • Figure 42: Diet and lifestyle typical behaviors, by household income, Jan. 2011
                                                                                                          • Consider targeting Gen Xers with convenient BFY food and drinks
                                                                                                            • Figure 43: Attitudes and opinions about food, by gender, July 2009-Sept. 2010
                                                                                                          • Many Gen Xers lead an active lifestyle
                                                                                                            • Figure 44: Sports participation in the last 12 months, by gender, July 2009-Sept. 2010
                                                                                                        • Leisure and Entertainment

                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                            • Most Gen Xers surf the internet often
                                                                                                              • Figure 45: Frequency of activities for entertainment, Jan. 2011
                                                                                                            • Gen X women more likely to cook, listen to music, read, and shop “often”
                                                                                                              • Figure 46: Frequency of activities for entertainment, by gender, Jan. 2011
                                                                                                            • Lower-income Gen Xers more likely to report engaging in at-home activities
                                                                                                              • Figure 47: Frequency of activities for entertainment, by household income, Jan. 2011
                                                                                                            • Gen Xers spend the largest part of their leisure time watching television
                                                                                                                • Figure 48: Hours spent engaged in leisure activities per week, Jan. 2011
                                                                                                            • Electronics, Internet, and Information

                                                                                                              • Key points
                                                                                                                • Gen Xers use internet to compare prices and find deals
                                                                                                                  • Figure 49: Attitudes toward electronics, by gender, Jan. 2011
                                                                                                                • Affluents more likely to compare prices online
                                                                                                                  • Figure 50: Attitudes toward electronics, by household income, Jan. 2011
                                                                                                                • Nearly two thirds of Gen X turn to internet first for information
                                                                                                                  • Figure 51: Attitudes toward the internet, by gender, July 2009-Sept. 2010
                                                                                                                  • Figure 52: Attitudes toward the internet, by household income, July 2009-Sept. 2010
                                                                                                                • Gen Xers less likely to read printed newspapers because of the internet
                                                                                                                  • Figure 53: How the internet has impacted life, by gender, July 2009-Sept. 2010
                                                                                                                  • Figure 54: How the internet has impacted life, by household income, July 2009-Sept. 2010
                                                                                                                  • Figure 55: Daily and Sunday newspaper readership habits, July 2009-Sept. 2010
                                                                                                              • Advertising Awareness

                                                                                                                • Key point
                                                                                                                  • Many Gen Xers seem to overlook online advertising
                                                                                                                    • Figure 56: Internet ad click incidence and ads leading to purchase incidence, by gender/age, July 2009-Sept. 2010
                                                                                                                  • Most Gen Xers overlook in-store advertising when shopping for food
                                                                                                                    • Figure 57: Advertising referred to when shopping for food, by gender/age, July 2009-Sept. 2010
                                                                                                                  • In-store marketing more likely to influence nonfood purchases
                                                                                                                    • Figure 58: Advertising referred to when shopping for nonfood items, by gender/age, July 2009-Sept. 2010
                                                                                                                  • Billboards most effective form of outdoor advertising
                                                                                                                      • Figure 59: Advertising outside the home noticed in the past 30 days, by gender/age, July 2009-Sept. 2010
                                                                                                                    • Product placement can be an effective way to reach Gen X
                                                                                                                      • Figure 60: Attitudes toward brand names in television and movies, July 2009-Sept. 2010
                                                                                                                  • Attitudes Toward Advertising, Ethics, and Environment

                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                      • Most Gen Xers feel advertising is manipulative
                                                                                                                        • Figure 61: Attitudes toward consumer ethics, by gender, Jan. 2011
                                                                                                                      • Affluent Gen Xers more likely to be cynical about corporations
                                                                                                                        • Figure 62: Attitudes toward consumer ethics, by household income, Jan. 2011
                                                                                                                      • Most Gen Xers have green living aspirations
                                                                                                                        • Figure 63: Attitudes toward the environment, by gender/age, July 2009-Sept. 2010
                                                                                                                    • Impact of Race and Hispanic Origin

                                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                                        • Hispanic Gen Xers more concerned about economic matters
                                                                                                                          • Figure 64: Change in concerns compared to last year, by race/Hispanic origin, Jan. 2011
                                                                                                                        • Retirement and credit cards primary concerns of Hispanics
                                                                                                                          • Figure 65: Household primary financial concerns, by race/Hispanic origin, Jan. 2011
                                                                                                                        • Fewer Hispanic Gen Xers have health insurance, but more eat organic
                                                                                                                          • Figure 66: Diet and lifestyle typical behaviors, by race/Hispanic origin, Jan. 2011
                                                                                                                        • Music, movies, and reading especially popular with Hispanics
                                                                                                                          • Figure 67: Frequency of activities for entertainment, by race/Hispanic origin, Jan. 2011
                                                                                                                      • Cluster Analysis

                                                                                                                          • Practical Techs
                                                                                                                            • Demographics
                                                                                                                              • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                  • Informed and Balanced Bargainers
                                                                                                                                    • Demographics
                                                                                                                                      • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                        • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                          • Smartphone Enthusiasts
                                                                                                                                            • Demographics
                                                                                                                                              • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                  • Cluster characteristics
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 68: Gen X clusters, Jan. 2011
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 69: Attitudes toward electronics, by Gen X clusters, Jan. 2011
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 70: Non-work life priorities, by Gen X clusters, Jan. 2011
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 71: Attitudes toward consumer ethics, by Gen X clusters, Jan. 2011
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 72: Diet and lifestyle typical behaviors, by Gen X clusters, Jan. 2011
                                                                                                                                                  • Cluster demographics
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 73: Gen X clusters, by gender, Jan. 2011
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 74: Gen X clusters, by household income, Jan. 2011
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 75: Gen X clusters, by race/Hispanic origin, Jan. 2011
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 76: Gen X clusters, by marital status, Jan. 2011
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 77: Gen X clusters by presence of children younger than 18 in household, Jan. 2011
                                                                                                                                                  • Cluster methodology
                                                                                                                                                  • Custom Consumer Groups

                                                                                                                                                    • Married parents more likely to compare prices online
                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 78: Attitudes toward electronics, by marital status and presence of children, Jan. 2011
                                                                                                                                                      • Married parents want to avoid wasting time, spend more time with loved ones
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 79: Non-work life priorities, by marital status and presence of children, Jan. 2011
                                                                                                                                                        • Savings more likely to be a primary concern among married, parents
                                                                                                                                                            • Figure 80: Household primary financial concerns, by marital status and presence of children, Jan. 2011
                                                                                                                                                          • Married couples and parents more likely to cook from scratch and seek healthier fare
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 81: Diet and lifestyle typical behaviors, by marital status and presence of children, Jan. 2011
                                                                                                                                                            • Younger Gen X men generally more likely to notice outdoor ads
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 82: Advertising outside the home noticed in the past 30 days, by gender/age, July 2009-Sept. 2010
                                                                                                                                                            • Appendix: Other Useful Consumer Tables

                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 83: Generational demographic comparisons, July 2009-Sept. 2010
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 84: Attitudes toward electronics, by education, Jan. 2011
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 85: Non-work life priorities, by education, Jan. 2011
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 86: Household primary financial concerns, by education, Jan. 2011
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 87: Attitudes toward consumer ethics, by marital status and presence of children, Jan. 2011
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 88: Change in concerns compared to last year, by marital status and presence of children, Jan. 2011
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 89: Frequency of activities for entertainment, by education, Jan. 2011
                                                                                                                                                            • Appendix: Trade Associations

                                                                                                                                                              Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                              • Advertising Research Foundation
                                                                                                                                                              • American Advertising Federation
                                                                                                                                                              • American Association of Advertising Agencies (AAAA)
                                                                                                                                                              • American Marketing Association (AMA)
                                                                                                                                                              • Association of National Advertisers (ANA)
                                                                                                                                                              • Digital Media Association (DiMA)
                                                                                                                                                              • Facebook, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                              • Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation
                                                                                                                                                              • Ford Motor Company (USA)
                                                                                                                                                              • Google, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                              • Interactive Advertising Bureau (US)
                                                                                                                                                              • International Advertising Association (IAA)
                                                                                                                                                              • McDonald's U.S.A.
                                                                                                                                                              • MetLife, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                              • Microsoft Corporation
                                                                                                                                                              • National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR)
                                                                                                                                                              • Netflix, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                              • Toyota Motor Corporation USA
                                                                                                                                                              • Twitter, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                              • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
                                                                                                                                                              • Volkswagen of America, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                              • World Federation of Advertisers (WFA)
                                                                                                                                                              • Yahoo! Inc
                                                                                                                                                              • YouTube, Inc.

                                                                                                                                                              Marketing to Gen X - US - April 2011

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