“X” Marks The Spot

Photo by David Paschke on Unsplash

Market researchers everywhere are sounding the horn that Millennials are quickly becoming the dominant figure in the workforce, dispensing their invaluable advice on how to cope with the situation left and right. However, the world is in no danger of ending just because Generation Y is growing up. Gen Xers are alive and kicking, and spending more than ever.

Born between 1980 and 2000, the young and the restless Generation Y (aka the Millennials) is an energetic cohort portrayed in whitepapers as a tsunami of self-entitled idealists. Generation X – people born after the Western Post–World War II baby boom who are now between 35 and 50 – get slightly overlooked, as researchers obsess over the buying habits and workplace demands the aforementioned younger demographic. eMarketer took a U turn recently and did a thorough analysis of Generation X in a report titled “Giving Gen X Its Due: Analyzing a Market of 65 Million Consumers,” which explores the online and offline shopping habits of the X demographic. Some findings:

  • 7 in 10 Gen Xers will make digital purchases this year, and by the end of the decade than number will be 8 out of 10
  • Gen Xers have kids and a career to juggle, so they are are in a hectic phase of their life which pushes them to spend extra for convenience
  • Gen Xers are “not being profligate about spending” according to Erin Winters, a marketing strategy expert working with Acxiom
  • brand loyalty is high in Gen Xers, despite the consensus that the group is supposedly dissatisfied with the corporate world; around 50% of Gen X internet users in North America described themselves as very loyal to favorite brands

Authors Michael Hais and Morley Winograd predicted these findings in 2012. The duo wrote in a piece for beinkandescent.com that consumer behavior was changing, that Xers were becoming supporters of notions like risk-taking and individual effort. Gen Xers were siding with the idealist generation, and they were no strangers to entrepreneurship, the iconic institution that best describes America. According to the authors, “As a result, Xers will spark a renaissance of entrepreneurship in economic life, even as overall confidence in economic institutions declines. Customers, and their needs and wants (including Millennials) will become the North Star for an entire new generation of entrepreneurs.”

I’m no expert but I’d say Hais and Winograd pretty much nailed it.

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