Description

This report offers a complete analysis of American Gen X from a consumer perspective. Below, we’ve summarized the key areas covered, defined the report scope, and offer handpicked insights from the report itself.

Key Areas Covered in this Report

  • Gen X outlook and self-perceptions – they’ve worked hard, followed the rules, and are underwhelmed by the payoff.
  • Gen X health status and priorities, as the group inches toward senior territory, opening opportunity for products and services that help them contend with the reality of aging.
  • Gen X financial situation and attitudes, and the impact repeated economic downturns have had on retirement plans and savings.
  • The role tech and social media play in the lives of this non-digitally native, but extremely tech reliant group.

Report Scope

For the purposes of this report, Mintel defines Gen X as the generation born between 1965 and 1979. In 2023, Gen Xers are between the ages of 44 and 58.

Gen X Consumer Overview in 2023

Gen X – currently aged 44-58 and representing 60 million Americans – is often seen as the forgotten generation, sandwiched between the sizeable Baby Boomer and Millennial groupings. And while a larger share of this cohort identifies as rule followers and aims to fit in, there’s an active subgroup that wants to stand-out, providing strong fodder for brand outreach.

How to Market to Gen X: Example Opportunity

Gen Xers are disappointed. They have worked hard, followed the rules, and are underwhelmed by the result. Mintel found that almost three-fifths of American Gen Xers agree with the statement: ‘my life isn’t where I thought it would be at this point’. Brands can address this reality in multiple ways, including by leaning into offerings that make Gen X feel good about where they are, including highlighting achievements (e.g. family, creative ventures, social impact), and providing messaging that supports mental health.

For a complete analysis of marketing opportunities available to brands, buy our full report. Alternatively, you may want to take a look at our US Gen X: Online Shopping Behaviors Market Report 2023.

Additional Features Included in Your Report

  • Different Digital Formats: PDF for conveniently sharing with your team, PowerPoint for quickly including in your presentation, as well as an Infographic and an Excel Databook.
  • Mintel’s Clients Portal: Our portal offers instant access to actionable analysis and trends pieces relevant to your industry that are published almost daily. You can also browse for more market research reports.

Specialist Analysis from a Consumer Expert

This report, written by Carol Wong-Li, a leading consumer and culture analyst, delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to provide opportunities to market to Gen X.

Marketing to Gen X requires adeptly navigating a budget-conscious consumer that values quality. Gen X likes nice things, but they want to feel responsible about spending on them. They are a generation that gravitates toward following the rules. Brands can celebrate this investment in responsibility and help Gen X push beyond boundaries by establishing a comfort zone of parameters.

Carol Wong-LiCarol Wong-Li
Director, Consumers & Culture

 

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • This Report looks at the following areas
        • Definition
          • Market context
          • Executive Summary

              • Top Takeaways
                • Gen X is disappointed
                  • Figure 1: Attitudes and perceptions – any agree – self-perceptions, by financial situation, 2023
                • Quality is the way in for Gen X
                  • Figure 2: Perceptions of value – quality, by key demos, 2023
                • Competitive strategies
                  • Gen X acceptance of store brands provides a roadmap for accessible quality
                    • Figure 3: Perceptions of value – store/name brands, by key demos, 2023
                  • Strengthen personalization to strengthen resilience
                    • Figure 4: Budgeting by category, 2023
                  • Opportunities
                    • Brands can engender preference by helping Gen X stick to the budget
                      • Figure 5: Budget monitoring, 2023
                    • Help Gen X play savings catch-up
                      • Figure 6: Financial situation – investments/debt, 2023
                  • Gen X by the Numbers

                    • Gen X is 60 million strong in 2023
                      • Figure 7: US population by generation, 2018-28
                      • Figure 8: US population by generation, 2018-28
                    • Gen X employment outpaces gen pop
                      • Figure 9: Employment, 2023
                    • Nearly a third of Gen X rents their home
                      • Figure 10: Housing, by generation, 2023
                      • Figure 11: Timing of planned home purchase, 2023
                    • Nearly one in five Gen X is separated/divorced/widowed
                      • Figure 12: Marital status, 2023
                      • Figure 13: Defining identity, 2020-23
                    • 30% of Gen X has adult children living in the household
                      • Figure 14: Age of children in the household, 2023
                    • Nearly a quarter of Gen X is non-White
                      • Figure 15: Distribution of US generations by race, 2023 (est)
                      • Figure 16: US population by race and Hispanic origin and generation, 2023
                      • Figure 17: Distribution of US generations by Hispanic origin, 2023 (est)
                  • Market Factors

                    • Inflation makes already cautious Gen X even more so
                      • Figure 18: Financial situation, 2023
                      • Figure 19: Budget monitoring, 2023
                    • Gen X more likely to sacrifice non-essentials, leaning into low-cost/DIY
                      • Figure 20: Spending behavior, 2023
                      • Figure 21: Impact of inflation on leisure entertainment, 2023
                  • Competitive Strategies and Market Opportunities

                    • Mintel Trend Drivers
                      • Marketing to Gen X through the Trend Drivers Wellbeing and Technology
                        • Parlay Gen X love of gaming into mental health solution
                          • Figure 22: Perceptions of video games, 2023
                        • Marketing to Gen X through the Trend Driver Identity
                          • Create rules for Gen X to follow
                            • Figure 23: Let them be mindful, 2023
                        • The Gen X Consumer – Fast Facts

                          • Gen X feel like life isn’t where they thought it would be at this point
                            • Brands can help Gen X achieve savings security
                              • Inflation has increased Gen X budgeting behavior
                                • Quality/durability and experiences drive value among Gen X
                                  • Brands can help those looking to stand out amid generation of conformists
                                    • Gen X is aware of shifting health
                                    • Gen X Self-perceptions

                                      • Majority of Gen X feels as if life isn’t where they thought it would be
                                        • Figure 24: Attitudes and perceptions – any agree – self-perceptions, 2023
                                        • Figure 25: Attitudes and perceptions – any agree – self-perceptions, by financial situation, 2023
                                      • Three quarters of single women are contending with a shift in expectation
                                        • Figure 26: Project Leonardo, 2023
                                        • Figure 27: Attitudes and perceptions – any agree – self-perceptions, by marital status, 2023
                                      • Gen X skews conformist, brands can help some groups stand out
                                        • Figure 28: Self-perceptions – stand out/fit in, by key demos, 2023
                                      • Gen X is future-focused, prime for planning tools
                                        • Figure 29: Self-perceptions – future/now, by key demos, 2023
                                      • …but the past plays a role
                                        • Figure 30: Self-perceptions – keep/eliminate, by key demos, 2023
                                    • Gen X Health

                                      • Conditions
                                        • Majority of Gen X identifies physical limitations
                                          • Figure 31: Attitudes and perceptions – any agree – health perceptions, 2023
                                        • One in four Gen Xers has a physical condition that limits movement
                                          • Figure 32: Physical conditions, 2023
                                        • Priorities
                                          • Healthy eating and weight management lead Gen X health goals
                                            • Figure 33: Health priorities – any rank, 2023
                                          • Women more weight-focused, men interested in stress management
                                            • Figure 34: Health priorities – any rank, by gender, 2023
                                          • Affordable mental health options are in high demand
                                            • Figure 35: Health priorities – any rank, by financial situation, 2023
                                          • Accommodations
                                            • Gen X is starting to lean into inclusive design
                                              • Figure 36: Project Leonardo, 2023
                                              • Figure 37: Inclusive design attributes, 2023
                                          • Gen X Finances

                                            • Savings
                                              • Fewer than half of Gen X has a comfortable cushion of savings
                                                • Figure 38: Attitudes and perceptions – any agree – savings, 2023
                                              • Single women are in need of savings support
                                                • Figure 39: Attitudes and perceptions – any agree – savings, 2023
                                              • Gen X Hispanics lack a safety net
                                                • Figure 40: Attitudes and perceptions – any agree – savings, 2023
                                              • Investments/debt
                                                • Majority of Gen X lacks retirement investments, but know they need them
                                                  • Figure 41: Financial situation – investments/debt, 2023
                                                • Single Gen X women more likely to have student debt than investments
                                                  • Figure 42: Financial situation – investments/debt, by marital status, 2023
                                                • Fewer than a quarter of Hispanic Gen X has retirement investments
                                                  • Figure 43: Financial situation – investments/debt, by race/Hispanic origin, 2023
                                                • Student loan debt compounds financial struggle
                                                  • Figure 44: Financial situation – investments/debt, by financial situation, 2023
                                              • Gen X Spending Habits

                                                • Budgeting
                                                  • One in five Gen Xers follow a strict budget
                                                    • Figure 45: Budget monitoring, 2023
                                                    • Figure 46: Budget monitoring – follow a strict budget, by key demos 2023
                                                    • Figure 47: From pinning to planning, 2023
                                                  • Prove value by proving quality
                                                    • Figure 48: Perceptions of value – quality, by key demos, 2023
                                                  • Brand
                                                    • Brand loyalty is not strong
                                                      • Figure 49: Perceptions of value – brand loyalty, by key demos, 2023
                                                    • Majority of Gen X view comparable quality between store and name brands
                                                      • Figure 50: Perceptions of value – store/name brands, by key demos, 2023
                                                    • Convenience
                                                      • Time has slightly more value than money
                                                        • Figure 51: Perceptions of value – convenience, by key demos, 2023
                                                      • Preferences
                                                        • Experience leads for Gen X
                                                          • Figure 52: Purchase preferences – experiences/things, by key demos, 2023
                                                        • Personal care category is most resilient, implying power of personalization
                                                          • Figure 53: Budgeting by category, 2023
                                                          • Figure 54: Willingness to sacrifice quality for savings by grocery category, 2023
                                                      • Gen X and Work

                                                        • Motivation
                                                          • Work is driven by financial need more than personal fulfillment
                                                            • Figure 55: Financial situation – work plan, 2023
                                                          • Gen X men more likely to derive personal fulfillment out from work
                                                            • Figure 56: Financial situation – work plan, by gender, 2023
                                                          • Balance
                                                            • Majority of Gen X identifies healthy work-life balance
                                                              • Figure 57: Attitudes and perceptions – any agree – work, 2023
                                                            • Single Gen X women less likely to point to healthy work-life balance
                                                              • Figure 58: Attitudes and perceptions – any agree – work, by marital status, 2023
                                                            • Gen X Hispanics are pro-college
                                                              • Figure 59: Attitudes and perceptions – any agree – work, by Hispanic origin, 2023
                                                          • Gen X and Technology

                                                            • Usage
                                                              • Three in 10 online shoppers are doing so multiple times per week
                                                                • Figure 60: Digital activities in the past year, 2023
                                                                • Figure 61: Digital activity frequency, 2023
                                                              • Gen X women are more likely than men to use tech for outreach
                                                                • Figure 62: Digital activities in the past year, by gender, 2023
                                                              • Gen X women engage with online ads, brands must keep them relevant
                                                                • Figure 63: Digital activity frequency – click on advertisements I see online, by gender, 2023
                                                              • Dads may be an untapped segment of social media users
                                                                • Figure 64: Digital activity frequency – post on social media, by parental status, 2023
                                                              • Awareness
                                                                • Majority of Gen X don’t see societal benefit of AI, need some convincing
                                                                  • Figure 65: Attitudes and perceptions – any agree – technology, 2023
                                                                • Brands utilizing the metaverse must onboard women and Hispanic Gen X
                                                                  • Figure 66: Attitudes and perceptions – any agree – technology, by gender, 2023
                                                                  • Figure 67: Muévelo con Pepsi, 2023
                                                                  • Figure 68: Attitudes and perceptions – any agree – technology, by race/Hispanic origin, 2023
                                                                • Majority of Gen X parents are learning from their kids
                                                                  • Figure 69: Skills parents have become familiar with because of their children, 2023
                                                              • Gen X and Social Media

                                                                • Gen X remains skeptical of social media, influencers beware
                                                                  • Figure 70: Daily social media use, 2023
                                                                • Perceptions
                                                                  • Figure 71: Attitudes and perceptions – any agree – social media, by key demos, 2023
                                                                • Frequently used sites point to pursuit of connection, learning, fun
                                                                  • Figure 72: Attitudes toward social media platforms, 2023
                                                                • Identity
                                                                  • Majority of Gen X don’t feel represented in social media
                                                                    • Figure 73: Attitudes toward social media platforms – for people like me, by race/Hispanic origin, 2023
                                                                  • Get at the (norm) core
                                                                    • Figure 74: Attitudes toward social media platforms – for people like me, by area, 2023
                                                                  • Brand information
                                                                    • One in five Gen X women think Instagram is good for learning about brands
                                                                      • Figure 75: Attitudes toward social media platforms – good for learning about brands, by gender, 2023
                                                                    • Brands reach Black consumers on Facebook, Hispanics on Instagram/TikTok
                                                                      • Figure 76: Attitudes toward social media platforms – good for learning about brands, by race/Hispanic origin, 2023
                                                                  • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                    • Data sources
                                                                      • Consumer survey data
                                                                        • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                          • Terms

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