Gen X – the generation between Boomers and Millennials – has its own attributes that are partly Boomer and partly Millennial. Earlier this year, eMarketer spoke with various thought leaders on demographics to ascertain how Gen Xers use devices and their attitudes on marketing.
Like millennials, Gen Xers like their mobile devices, with 88% of them owning smartphones (94% of millennials have them). Gen Xers also use tablets, even more so than millennials, at almost 63% and 56%, respectively. Xers respond to ads on these devices, especially when they are multitasking or are out and about. One survey from late 2018 found that Xers were most receptive to smartphone ads while watching TV or just before going to sleep, as are boomers and millennials, but they are particularly receptive to smartphone ads while shopping in stores, exercising and running errands.
Not Fans of TV Ads
Gen Xers watch about 3.5 hours of nondigital TV per day, compared to boomers at 5 hours/day and millennials at 2 hours/day. As a result, Xers see a lot of TV ads but they are picky about those ads. They don’t like repetitive ads, they think there are too many ads and the ads they see are too long. A lot of Xers are moving to streaming platform subscriptions to avoid ads. A survey from Deloitte earlier this year found that 77% of Xers subscribed to video-on-demand services.
Adopting Voice Technology
Gen Xers are adopting new technologies like voice, although not as fast as millennials. About 35% of Xers will use smart speakers at least once a month as they transition some of their daily tasks from smartphones to smart speakers. However, most Xers use smart speakers for simple tasks like news or weather updates, setting reminders, checking calendars and listening to music. More sophisticated tasks like ordering entertainment (movies, TV shows, music), ordering or re-ordering products and purchasing products are done less by this group.
What does all this mean for marketers? It’s important to understand that Gen Xers are open to new technologies and interacting with media in new and different ways. They want a better ad experience and they expect good content in exchange for their attention. Proper messaging for the life stage of Xers is crucial.