Report: Gen X is largely ignored by brands despite being the most loyal consumer group

(Photo credit: Getty Images)
(Photo credit: Getty Images)

A new report by Wavemaker finds that by overlooking Gen X (people aged 45-60) brands are missing out on a multi-trillion-dollar market.

Source: Gen X Factor Report Wavemaker

  • Gen X is responsible for 27% of global spending and with rapidly rising earnings and savings, entering the most financially rewarding stage of their lives. Collectively, Gen X are the ‘wealthiest generation the world has ever known’.
  • Gen X is also more brand loyal, making them more valuable than younger consumers.
  • 92% of Gen X are on socials every day and are more confident users of new technology than Gen Z (aged under 26).
  • On TikTok Gen X comprise 28% of users and are the fastest-growing generation on the platform.
  • Just 5% of brand spend on influencer campaigns is targeted at Gen X.
  • Gen X makes up 31% of the global population but accounts for just 4% of industry research into different generations.

What is social media for Gen X

  • The desire for connection is the top reason why Gen X use social media.
  • In analysing how Gen X use social, it became clear that they use it like a ‘town square’.
  • Usage is less about boredom relief for Gen X than it is for younger generations; their time on social is more scheduled and deliberate, more uninterrupted me-time.
  • There is distrust among Gen X towards the medium of social. For them, brands on social are therefore untrustworthy until proven otherwise.
  • Posts from Gen X creators are, on average, +75% longer than posts from Gen Z or millennial creators.
  • Gen X is proven to be less promiscuous than younger consumers when it comes to what they buy. They consider 27% fewer brands than younger audiences and their purchases tend to be more driven by need (+29% vs. Gen Z and Millennials).
  • Because Gen X are less likely to buy on a whim, social media alone is unlikely to drive purchase.
  • L’Oréal Paris is one brand who has recognised the value of the Gen X audience. The brand addressed the age gap in social media marketing to promote its Age Perfect Rosy-Oil Serum. Partnering with 10 influencers aged over 45, it challenged stereotypes around ageing often perpetuated by beauty brands. The thoughtful way in which L’Oréal approached the campaign contributed to its exceeding the engagement KPI by 450%.

Dos and don'ts for a Gen X social strategy

  • DO consider the right influencers and brands as 'trust brokers' for social.
  • DON’T underestimate the power of partners in building trust.
  • DO follow the tone and be a well-mannered social citizen.
  • DON’T try to dominate or change the conversation.
  • DO accept that they’re a tough crowd and social is only the first in their purchase journey. Provide a high-quality ecosystem to close the sale.
  • DON’T expect Gen X to purchase in a single social click.
  • DO work with Gen X social creators who reflect this group’s real lives.
  • DON’T assume one size fits all when it comes to influencers.
  • DO build lasting relationships for the longterm. 
  • DON’T chop and change your brand ambassadors.


Combining quantitative and qualitative research methods, Wavemaker tapped into its own proprietary tools, commissioned new research, and connected with almost 200,000 Gen X-ers worldwide. 

This story first appeared on Campaign Asia-Pacific.


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