What’s So Different About Gen X’ers?
Retailers and brands are always trying to "crack the code" in the understanding of various consumer segments. Much has been written lately about Millennials and Baby Boomers. The results of a recent study on Gen X CPG/healthcare shopping habits, from SymphonyIRI’s MarketPulse my help fill in some gaps. According to the study, Gen X (defined as those born between Boomers and Millennials, currently aged 35 to 44) has a favorable outlook on the economy, but aren’t free spenders.
Gen X entered the adult world after the 1987 stock market crash and recession, so many experienced job loss early in their careers and some moved back in with their parents. That experience shaped their attitudes, in some of the same ways that the Great Recession experience affected Millennials. Meanwhile, a Pew Research study, as reported in Business Insider, says that Gen X got hammered with the Great Recession as well, and is less confident about their retirement prospects than they were three years ago. According to the report, Gen X’ers median household net worth has fallen 59 percent from 2005 to 2010.
SymphonyIRI (a RetailWire sponsor) says Gen X’ers are actually more optimistic than average shoppers, but:
- Thirty-seven percent buy brands on sale (vs. what they really want), compared to 45 percent of Millennials and 27 percent of Baby Boomers.
- Thirty-two percent select products to build meals at the lowest possible cost vs. 39 percent of Millennials and 27 percent of Boomers who do the same.
- Thirty-three percent choose products based on loyalty card discounts compared to 35 percent of Millennials and 25 percent of Boomers.
- Twenty percent stay out of certain aisles to avoid impulse purchases, vs. 22 percent of Millennials and only 15 percent of Boomers.
Gen X’ers appear to be well prepared for their shopping trips. Sixty-nine percent make shopping lists using a variety of tools, 49 percent review circulars and 48 percent use coupons. Fifty-five percent download recipes, 51 percent download coupons from retailer sites, and 38 percent research products online. Thirty-five percent use deal sites, 31 percent use social media to get coupons, and 23 percent look for updates from retailers and manufacturers via texts or e-mails.
- SymphonyIRI Quarterly MarketPulse Survey Finds Gen-X’ers Positive – SymphonyIRI
- Gen X Has Been Absolutely Clobbered By The Recession – Business Insider
Do you agree that Gen X has been hit harder by the Great Recession than other demographic groups? Do you think Gen X’ers’ shopping habits have permanently changed and, if yes, what should brands and retailers do about it?