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Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Marketing to Gen X: Incl Impact of COVID-19 – US market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

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There are nearly 50 million Gen X consumers aged 44-55 in the US. Though Gen X households tend to have higher than average incomes, many consumers aged 44-55 are supporting families while also paying down student-related debt and trying to save for retirement. These factors contribute to a relatively low net worth for Gen Xers compared to older generations. COVID-19 concerns have altered their shopping habits, and the current recession will impact the size of many Gen X households as newly independent young adults move in with their parents to economize. As a result, these consumers will seek out quality and affordability to maximize the value of their purchases.

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Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Kristen Boesel, a leading analyst in the Lifestyles and Leisure sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Generation Xers crave stability and the reassurance that they will be prepared for the future. Financial concerns make them value-driven shoppers and they look for purchases that offer quality products and affordable pricing rather than a distinctive brand personality. The current recession will only intensify their budget-mindedness as Gen Xers look out for their aging parents and Gen Z-aged children Kristen Boesel
Senior Lifestyles and Leisure Analyst

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Key issues covered in this Report
        • Definition
          • COVID-19: market context
          • Executive Summary

              • Top takeaways: what Gen X consumers want
                • Target audience overview
                  • Impact of COVID-19 on Generation X
                    • Figure 1: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on Generation X, July 2020
                  • Opportunities and challenges
                    • Challenge: fears of exposure alter shopping habits
                      • Figure 2: Level of concern about exposure to the coronavirus, by generation, July 2020
                    • Opportunity: encourage increased use of ecommerce and prepaid pickup options
                      • Figure 3: Changes in shopping behaviors because of COVID-19, July 2020
                    • Challenge: the recession has Gen Xers worried about money
                      • Figure 4: Feelings about personal financial situation over the next three months, July 2020
                    • Opportunity: offer Gen Xers financial guidance
                      • Figure 5: Percentage who are worried about being financially prepared for retirement, by generation, February 2020
                    • Challenge: their nests may not be empty
                      • Figure 6: Family households, by age of own children and age of householder, 2019
                    • Opportunity: accommodate and cater to larger households
                      • Figure 7: Average adult population per family household, 2000-19
                    • What it means
                    • Target Audience – Key Takeaways

                      • In-betweeners
                        • Families in transition
                          • Less wealth than older generations
                          • Gen X by the Numbers

                            • This generation’s place in history
                                • Figure 8: Technology timeline, 1965-2020
                              • A 50 million consumer sandwich
                                • Figure 9: US population by generation and age, 2020
                              • Racial and Hispanic makeup reflects immigration reform
                                • Figure 10: Population distribution, by age and race/Hispanic origin, 2019
                              • More educated than their elders
                                • Figure 11: Educational attainment, by age, 2019
                              • Still working, but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel
                                • Figure 12: Employment status of US civilian population, by age, 2019
                              • Impact of COVID-19 on Generation X
                                • Figure 13: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on Generation X, July 2020
                              • Lockdown
                                • Figure 14: Experienced and expected loss of employment income, by age, July 16-21, 2020
                              • Re-emergence
                                • Figure 15: Last month’s housing payment status, among adults aged 40-54, July 16-21, 2020
                              • Recovery
                                • COVID-19: US context
                                  • Learnings from the last recession
                                    • Households will expand
                                      • Figure 16: Average population per household, 2000-19
                                    • Regaining net worth
                                        • Figure 17: Median household net worth in 2016 dollars, 2007, 2010, 2016
                                    • Market Factors: Families and Households

                                      • Two thirds are married
                                        • Figure 18: Marital status by age, 2019
                                      • Edging into empty nest territory
                                        • Figure 19: Family households, by age of own children and age of householder, 2019
                                      • Gen X women get squeezed
                                          • Figure 20: Employment status of the US civilian population aged 45-54, by sex, 2019
                                      • Market Factors: Gen X Finances

                                          • Top earners
                                            • Figure 21: Median total household income in 2018, by age of householder
                                          • Student debt persists for some Gen Xers
                                            • Most, but not all, are homeowners
                                              • Figure 22: Homeownership rates for the US, by age of householder, 1982-2019
                                          • Market Opportunities – Key Takeaways

                                            • Offer value
                                              • Understand their place as parents
                                                • Break aging-related taboos
                                                  • Think of them as eventual tech adopters
                                                  • Mintel’s Global Trend Drivers

                                                      • Wellbeing
                                                        • Figure 23: Level of concern about exposure to the coronavirus, July 2020
                                                      • Experiences
                                                        • Figure 24: Gen X’s level of comfort with doing selected activities, July 2020
                                                        • Figure 25: Changes in shopping behaviors because of COVID-19, by generation, July 2020
                                                      • Identity
                                                        • Figure 26: Percentage who feel the brands they use reinforce their image, by generation, March 2019
                                                        • Figure 27: Elements that influence Gen Xers’ personal identity, February 2020
                                                      • Value
                                                        • Figure 28: Brand considerations – Recommendations, by generation, March 2019
                                                        • Figure 29: Feelings about personal financial situation over the next three months, July 2020
                                                      • Technology
                                                          • Figure 30: Social media platforms used at least once per week, by generation, June 2020
                                                      • Competitive Strategies

                                                        • Effective ads address challenges that Gen X parents face
                                                          • Tide is ready to help multigenerational households
                                                            • Figure 31: Tide PODS® | Mega Modern Family, 0:15 commercial, January 2019
                                                          • California Walnuts knows teenagers can be trying
                                                            • Figure 32: Life Isn’t Always Simple/Complicated Choices:30 | California Walnuts, October 2019
                                                          • Subaru understands parents’ protective instincts
                                                            • Figure 33: Subaru “Always Watching” advertisement, November 2019
                                                          • Reaching Gen X DTC consumers without Instagram
                                                            • Bells & Becks
                                                              • MM LaFleur
                                                                • Brands offer consumers educational resources on YouTube
                                                                  • Eva Longoria gets real on The Gram
                                                                    • Figure 34: How To Color Gray Hair At Home with Eva Longoria featuring L’Oréal Paris Excellence Crème, May 2020
                                                                  • TD Ameritrade’s Green Room
                                                                    • Figure 35: TD Ameritrade Educational Content Is Here to Help You, September 2019
                                                                  • Gen X women will bring a modern perspective to menopause
                                                                    • Caria App
                                                                      • Figure 36: Caria: #1 Menopause App, screenshots, July 2020
                                                                    • Pause Well-Aging
                                                                      • Figure 37: Pause Well-Aging hot flash cooling mist, July 2019
                                                                  • The Consumer – Key Takeaways

                                                                    • Only four in 10 Gen Xers feel their lives are stable
                                                                      • The greying of America will impact Gen X
                                                                        • Gen X parents want their kids to be ready for life as independent adults
                                                                          • About a fifth of Gen Xers are already grandparents
                                                                            • Most Gen Xers are worried about retirement
                                                                              • Gen Xers may help resurrect the travel industry
                                                                              • Stuck in the Middle: Outlook and Preferences

                                                                                • Gen X seeks stability and contentment
                                                                                  • Figure 38: Feelings about life right now, by generation, February 2020
                                                                                • Most Gen Xers are stressed
                                                                                  • Figure 39: Stressfulness of daily life, by generation, February 2020
                                                                                • Slight majority still want to stand out
                                                                                  • Figure 40: Preference for standing out vs fitting in, by generation, February 2020
                                                                                • Not the most spontaneous generation, but not the least
                                                                                  • Figure 41: Preference for living in the moment vs planning ahead, by generation, February 2020
                                                                                • Gen X preference for spending mirrors Millennials more than Boomers
                                                                                  • Figure 42: Preference for spending vs saving money, by generation, February 2020
                                                                              • Gen X and Their Parents

                                                                                • Most Gen Xers have parents over 75
                                                                                  • Figure 43: Age of Millennials’ parents, February 2020
                                                                                • Younger generations see their parents more often
                                                                                  • Figure 44: Frequency of seeing own parents, by generation, February 2020
                                                                                • Gen X is least likely to think they have it better than their parents did
                                                                                  • Figure 45: Agreement that quality of life is better than own parents’ at this age, by generation, February 2020
                                                                                • Confident they’ll know when their parents need help
                                                                                  • But less clear on a plan for aging parents
                                                                                    • Figure 46: Attitudes about caring for aging parents, February 2020
                                                                                • Gen X and Their Kids

                                                                                  • For Gen X, “parent” is a verb
                                                                                    • Household brands can win long-term loyalty
                                                                                      • Opportunities to educate kids and parents about money management
                                                                                        • Figure 47: Skills Gen X learned and tried to teach their own kids, February 2020
                                                                                      • Gen X grandparents are active in their grandkids’ lives
                                                                                        • Baby brands can promote products to Gen X grandparents
                                                                                          • Figure 48: Engagement with grandchildren, February 2020
                                                                                          • Figure 49: Engagement with grandchildren, by generation, February 2020
                                                                                      • Looking Toward Retirement

                                                                                        • More than a third are disappointed by their careers
                                                                                          • Figure 50: Percentage who are disappointed about their career, by generation, February 2020
                                                                                        • Retirement savings translate to success
                                                                                          • Figure 51: TURF analysis – Success in America, February 2020
                                                                                        • Savings aspirations fall short
                                                                                          • Figure 52: Signs of success vs milestones achieved, February 2020
                                                                                        • Majority of Gen X worries about funding retirement
                                                                                          • Figure 53: Percentage who are worried about being financially prepared for retirement, by generation, February 2020
                                                                                        • Gen Xers want to travel when they retire
                                                                                          • Figure 54: Retirement priorities, February 2020
                                                                                      • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                                        • Data sources
                                                                                          • Consumer survey data
                                                                                            • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                              • Abbreviations
                                                                                                • Generational Definitions
                                                                                                • Data Appendix – The Consumer

                                                                                                    • Figure 55: Median total household income in 2018, by race and Hispanic origin
                                                                                                    • Figure 56: Feelings about current financial situation, by generation, July 2020
                                                                                                    • Figure 57: Political views, by generation, February 2020
                                                                                                    • Figure 58: Agreement that one vote can make a difference, by generation, February 2020
                                                                                                  • TURF analysis methodology
                                                                                                      • Figure 59: TURF analysis – Success in America, February 2020

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