Gen X - Shopping habits and trends

01/14/2021 New In depth

Gen X - born between 1965 and 1980, are a generation sometimes overlooked. They are ‘sandwiched’ between two of the largest generations of recent memories: Baby Boomers and Millennials. Although they might be smaller than the other generations, that doesn’t mean that they are a generation that is unworthy of your attention as a business.

Gen X - in a nutshell

Gen X can be quite tricky to nail down as one demographic group, due to the older part of Gen X showing similarities to Baby Boomers and the younger part having some of the same characteristics as Millennials. That doesn’t mean however, that there are no important generational trends.
Gen X’ers are currently the group with the highest average income and at an average age of about 43, most of them are homeowners. Besides a house, many of them are currently married with an average of 2.5 children. The majority of their spending goes towards their house, but another significant part of their spending is dedicated to travelling and food/eating out at restaurants. During the pandemic eating out and travelling has become significantly more difficult, leading to D-I-Y/Home stores seeing an even larger spend from Gen X’ers. Around 75% of Gen X is employed, with about 10-15% on top of that who are self-employed.

What does Gen X want?

When looking at the main preferences of Gen X’ers, we can identify the following trends:

  • Security is priority number one
    • As most Gen X’ers have an established family - with children in the age range where they are still in some form of education - Gen X consumers want to make smart and informed decisions that benefit their family.
  • No-nonsense approach to marketing
    • Generation wise, they’ve seen a lot of different marketing strategies and methods. This means they don’t like over exaggerated marketing campaigns, they want marketing to be to-the-point and direct.
  • High on internet research
    • The majority of the demographic agrees with the statement that after they see an ad on one platform, they will look up the product on the internet to further review and investigate.

How to be successful with your marketing to Gen X consumers

Email is still number one

Although this medium has suffered in popularity for other demographics, email marketing is still the best way to reach Gen X consumers. Many of them work with Outlook, meaning they are still used to this way of communicating. They are also very susceptible to discounts and coupons through mail, with research showing that 68% of Gen X consumers use coupons provided to them by email regularly.
*Tip: A significant number of Gen X respondents also said they still regularly browse coupons and flyers sent to them by direct mail. While no longer one of the prominent marketing methods, it never hurts to try a direct mail campaign.

Facebook

While the younger generations tend to have shifted to other social media platforms, among Gen X consumers Facebook is still the largest and most popular platform - by far. Research conducted in 2018 shows that around 44 million Gen X’ers use Facebook and rank it as their number one social media platform. The majority of these users say that their main reason for using Facebook is to follow businesses and brands, looking out for discounts and deals. Short video marketing on Facebook has also shown to be a very good way to enthuse Gen X consumers, often prompting them to share videos they like on their own feeds.

Trust will be rewarded

Another way of winning over Gen X consumers is through proving to them that you are trustworthy. By ensuring that your shop can be found easily on multiple channels and displaying enough positive reviews, you can convince the researching Gen X’er that your webshop is one to trust. Once you’ve convinced them, chances are you’ll have a consumer that stays with you for life. Many Gen X’ers admit that they have a tendency to be loyal to a brand - especially when there is a loyalty program in place.

Credit- and debitcards

When it comes to paying, Gen X consumers still rely heavily on credit- and debitcards. From all the generations, Gen X consumers are at the top when it comes to creditcard use. They grew up in a period when creditcards were easy to get and it was normal to use them for many different types of purchases. Following closely behind creditcards in popularity are debitcards, with PayPal also being a decent fish in the pond. Newer payment methods such as mobile wallets have not caught on with Gen X’ers yet, most likely due to the fact that they feel it is not completely secure.
**The Netherlands can be considered an outlier when looking at Gen X consumers - due to the popularity of iDeal. For the majority of countries, creditcards are the main payment methods, whereas in the Netherlands it is the second most popular payment method.

To summarize

Gen X consumers keep safety and security in high regard, and act accordingly. To appeal to this crowd, your store must come across as trustworthy. This can be achieved by pushing out a unified message across all your channels in conjunction with a healthy amount of positive reviews. As for your ways of reaching them, Facebook and email should be the main components of your marketing outings. Once you convince them to buy once, a good loyalty program will ensure that you have a consumer that will be coming back. Final point: offering the right payment methods. By offering a creditcard option, you’ll provide many Gen X’ers with their favorite payment method - facilitating their purchasing process on your website.

MultiSafepay offers a variety of payment methods that suit the Gen X consumers, and will gladly put your webshop in a position to succeed with this demographic.


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