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Gen X – don’t overlook the ‘forgotten generation’

Sandwiched between the meme-worthy Baby Boomers and the headline-making Millennials, Generation X can be forgiven for feeling neglected.

Regularly overlooked by retailers, marketers and business as a whole, people born between 1965 and 1980 suffer from ‘middle child’ syndrome – too young to have achieved ‘wise elder’ status, and too old to be recognised as needing attention when it comes to sales opportunities.

Yet their economic and purchasing power is undeniable – according to Experian, Gen X:

  • are the most influential consumers in the UK in terms of earning, spending and contributing
  • tend to be the highest earners
  • make the most purchases of any demographic

The X factor

So how can retailers take advantage of the X factor? As with more regularly-engaged demographics, the key is to understand what motivates this particular generation.

Motivator: technology as a life enhancer

Gen X have a love of technology that springs from the fact that a lot of the major developments which are now part of the fabric of our lives took place while they were growing up. Having experienced life before and after the launch of the internet and smartphones, the majority are early adopters who don’t shun tech advances or take them for granted, but rather embrace their potential – in fact, according to Sage, they’re responsible for 55% of startups.  

When it comes to shopping, they’re especially keen to use the tech at their disposal for research – finding out all they can about products, reading reviews and seeking the best offers.

Retail opportunity

As Gen X generally enjoy using technology to make their lives easier, access to information is a key driver, so make it readily available either through their own devices or store associate-led functionality. Give them enhanced product details and allow them to read reviews and recommendations in-store, and make the technology work for you and them by giving them in-store access to your entire product catalogue through assisted sales facilities.

Motivator: caring and sharing

This generation have more on their plate than most when it comes to caring for others – many will be looking after elderly parents as well as children from toddlers to university age. So being able to talk to someone else about their day-to-day activities, from running the household to buying goods, is a small act of self-care, giving them the opportunity to share some of the tasks they have no choice but to handle.

Retail opportunity

Given their appetite for personalised conversations, Gen X respond well to being able to talk through their purchases and preferences with a trusted shopping companion who knows about them and their needs. Combine this with their willingness to use tech and you have the perfect audience for clienteling services, whether they’re virtual or in-store.

Motivator: tomorrow’s world

Having lived through a significant amount of change and upheaval, Gen X have an awareness of the past which informs how they feel about the future. And as they will usually have others to consider as well as themselves, they’re looking for their concerns about the economy, the environment and particularly what the world will look like for their loved ones, at least some of whom are likely to be working in retail, to be reflected in not only the values but the actions of the retailers they choose to shop with.

Retail opportunity

Across all demographics, people are becoming more considered in the purchases they make and the retailers they visit – according to Nielsen, more than a third of Gen X shoppers are willing to spend up to 10% more on sustainable products, and around half are looking for recycled goods. Retailers who can’t prove their commitment to ethical practices, sustainability and, importantly, fair treatment of the people who work for them, have already seen customers take their business to brands with more transparent policies. There’s a huge opportunity to turn your store associates into ambassadors by making sure they have the tools to do their jobs properly – not only will they have all the information they need to answer customers’ questions about product origins and sustainability, you will also have shown them a level of trust and respect which will reassure Gen X shoppers that you have their best interests at heart.

While Millennials and Gen Z may take the lion’s share of column inches and engagement activity, retailers will be missing out on sales if they don’t give Gen X the attention they deserve. As a demographic they have a lot to offer – they outspend their younger counterparts, embrace all the good that tech has to offer and are more than ready to connect, in-store and at home.

Take the first step and contact us for a demo today.

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Red Ant, 26th August 2020
Gen X – don’t overlook the ‘forgotten generation’ of shoppers

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