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Q3 MarketPulse™ Survey Results: Don’t Ignore the “Ignored Generation”


Susan ViamariSusan Viamari

Posted on Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Often referred to as the “ignored generation,” Generation X is far from forgettable. Sandwiched between two larger generations, the post World War II baby boomers and their millennial children, Generation X borrows traits from both groups but more closely mirrors the millennials.

This quarter’s MarketPulse™ survey narrows in on Gen-Xers (aged 35 to 44) to reveal frugality despite a sunnier economic outlook. Twenty-four percent of the group believes their financial situation has improved during the past 12 months. Because of this positive view, it may seem that Generation X has much in common with the baby boomers. In fact, though, they actually share traits around price sensitivity and tech savviness with millennial shoppers.

Just as millennials are entering adulthood amidst a weak economic environment, Gen-Xers began their adult lives, job-searching and starting a household, during the recession following the 1987 stock market crash. They’ve adopted more frugal purchase habits compared to older generations and use technology to plan shopping trips ahead of time. The Q3 MarketPulse report demonstrates these Gen-Xer traits, such as:

  • Similar to millennial shoppers, 72 percent of Gen-Xers state price is more important than convenience in brand decisions
  • 37 percent buy brands that are on sale rather than their preferred brands versus 45 percent of millennials, 27 percent of boomers and 22 percent of seniors
  • 33 percent choose products based on loyalty card discounts versus 35 percent of millennials, 25 percent of boomers and 16 percent of seniors
  • 20 percent steer clear of certain aisles to avoid unplanned purchases versus 22 percent of millennials, 15 percent of boomers and 11 percent of seniors
  • On par with other generations, 69 percent pre-plan by making shopping lists, with Internet and retailer website usage comparable to millennials and higher than older generations

With established families and more advanced careers, Generation X is an influential group. Retailers and manufacturers should not overlook their spending power. Marketers wishing to reach Generation X should approach the group with a comprehensive arsenal of tactics, showing appreciation for their tech savvy ways, and the important role that new media are playing in helping them to get off to a solid start in their adult world.

For more details about Generation X’s shopping behaviors and this quarter’s Shopper Sentiment Index™, please read the press release:  http://www.symphonyiri.com/NewsEvents/PressReleases/tabid/97/ItemID/1605/View/Details/Default.aspx.

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One Response for "Q3 MarketPulse™ Survey Results: Don’t Ignore the “Ignored Generation”"

  1. Mark Eastwood January 8th, 2013 at 9:52 AM

    As someone right on the edge of Generation X, I think you’ve called it right. Price is king, among items of comparable quality and sales (aka price) wins. Loyalty is important but only because I get something for it — gas discounts, first-class upgrades, instant savings, etc

    The internet has made information on nearly everything more accessible and easier to compare. Add to this the ability to purchase online with some amount of confidence and a consideration for saving time & gas while waiting on mail/FedEx/UPS and you have a combination that changes how shopping gets done. Gen-X has money to spend and they have the desire to spend it as they see the comforts of the younger baby-boomers. Generation X has seen enough economic turmoil and excess government debt to be cautious so they have become more cautious and selective.