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Marketing to Generation X - UK - February 2019

“Too often overlooked and consequently too often underserved, Generation X presents a golden opportunity for brands that can welcome them in from the wilderness. Being pulled in all directions can create a build-up of different pressures that brands can help to alleviate, starting by motivating them with advertising that goes beyond a basic portrayal of aspiration and success.”

– Jack Duckett, Associate Director of Consumer Lifestyles Research

This report examines the following issues:

  • Advertising representations of Generation X are falling flat
  • Gen Xers – particularly women – struggle to find their own space, time, and confidence

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Generational definitions
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • The overlooked Generation X
              • Figure 1: Generational structure of the UK population (projected), 2019
            • The consumer
              • Generation X time pressures come to bear
                • Figure 2: Activities Gen X don’t have time to do, November 2018
              • The so-called “Sandwich Generation”
                • Figure 3: Types of support Gen X provide for their/their partner's parents, November 2018
              • Gen X take a positive attitude towards age
                • Figure 4: Gen X attitudes towards age, November 2018
              • Gen X prioritises financial and physical health
                • Figure 5: Gen X current lifestyle priorities, November 2018
              • Advertising representation is out of step with how Gen X describe themselves
                • Figure 6: How Generation X describe themselves vs how Gen X describe their representation in marketing, November 2018
              • What we think
              • Issues and Insights

                • Advertising representations of Generation X are falling flat
                  • The facts
                    • The implications
                      • Gen Xers – particularly women – struggle to find their own space, time, and confidence
                        • The facts
                          • The implications
                          • Demographic Overview – What You Need to Know

                            • Understanding the overlooked Generation X
                              • Demographic features of Generation X
                              • Demographic Overview

                                • The overlooked Generation X
                                  • Gen X accounts for 20% of population
                                    • Figure 7: Generational structure of the UK population (projected), 2019
                                  • 63% of Gen Xers own their own home
                                    • Figure 8: Living situation, by generation, November 2018
                                  • 70% of Gen X have children
                                    • Figure 9: Proportion of Gen X with children, November 2018
                                    • Figure 10: Proportion of Gen X with children in household, by age of child, November 2018
                                  • Gen X are the generation least likely to describe finances as healthy
                                    • Figure 11: How respondents would describe their financial situation, by generation, November 2018
                                  • Gen X keeps pace with younger generations on mainstream tech ownership
                                    • Figure 12: Technology device ownership, by generation, November 2018
                                • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                  • Time pressures come to bear on over-stretched Gen X
                                    • Six in every 10 Gen Xers take on practical support role for parents
                                      • Most Gen Xers feel young for their age
                                        • Gen Xers focus on financial and physical health
                                          • Gen X representation in advertising out of step with self-perceptions
                                          • Generation X Time Pressures

                                            • Getting enough sleep is a big challenge for Gen X
                                              • Figure 13: Activities Gen X don’t have time to do, November 2018
                                            • Gen X women, in particular, struggle to find time to relax
                                              • Figure 14: Activities Gen X don’t have time to do, by gender, November 2018
                                          • Support Provided for Parents

                                            • Gen X offer practical support to parents
                                                • Figure 15: Types of practical support Gen X provide for their/their partner's parents, November 2018
                                                • Figure 16: Do/arrange household maintenance repairs for them, by gender, November 2018
                                              • Medical and health support could leave Gen X stretched
                                                • Figure 17: Types of medical and health support Gen X provide for their/their partner's parents, November 2018
                                                • Figure 18: Help them get to and from medical appointments, by gender, November 2018
                                              • Financial support more likely to mean money management help
                                                  • Figure 19: Types of financial support Gen X provide for their/their partner's parents, November 2018
                                                  • Figure 20: Help with money management, by gender, November 2018
                                              • Attitudes towards Age

                                                • Gen X take a positive view on age
                                                  • Figure 21: Gen X attitudes towards age, November 2018
                                                • Representation in advertising and the media has room for improvement
                                                  • Gen X show lower confidence in looking their age than Millennials
                                                    • Figure 22: Proportion of adults who agree with the statements “I feel young for my age” and “I feel like I look my age”, by generation, November 2018
                                                  • Gen X still feel they have more to achieve
                                                    • Figure 23: Proportion of adults who agree with the statement “I am where I thought I would be at this stage in life”, by generation, November 2018
                                                • Current Lifestyle Priorities

                                                  • Gen X focus on financial and physical health
                                                    • Figure 24: Gen X current lifestyle priorities, November 2018
                                                  • Gen X place the strongest emphasis on financial stability
                                                    • Figure 25: Current lifestyle priorities, by generation, November 2018
                                                • How Gen Xers Describe Themselves

                                                  • A veritable mix of tradition and open-mindedness
                                                    • Figure 26: How Generation X describe themselves, November 2018
                                                  • Convenience could be king for over-stretched Generation X
                                                    • Figure 27: Proportion of adults who describe themselves as ‘busy’, by generation, November 2018
                                                    • Figure 28: Proportion of Generation X who describe themselves as ‘busy’, by gender, November 2018
                                                  • Marketing depiction is out of step with how Gen X view themselves
                                                    • Figure 29: How Generation X describe themselves vs how Gen X describe their representation in marketing, November 2018
                                                  • Marketers missing a trick on open-minded, fun, and adaptable representations
                                                  • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations, and Supporting Information

                                                      • Abbreviations
                                                        • Consumer research methodology

                                                        Marketing to Generation X - UK - February 2019

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