Who spends the most ? Gen X vs Millennials

Gen X are the last generation to grow up without the internet. They can socialise without Wi-Fi and are living life to the full, with babies in tow.

  • Gen X is an underrated influencer when it comes to the economy, with a quarter sitting within the top 25% income bracket. They are huge spenders and 54% are frustrated that brands constantly ignore them – opportunity awaits.
  • Gen X are socialising differently to other generations. Increased, dual disposable incomes demand a taste for luxury yet optimal fun and value for money is a prerequisite for social occasions.
  • With busy schedules and family responsibilities, time is precious, prompting meticulously planned weekends where jam-packed socialising sessions that are shorter in length yet pack a social punch are favoured.
  • Me-time is of utmost importance to Gen X, and if not available, seeing parents and the wider family is equally as fulfilling.
  • Being and appearing cool is still important for Gen X and they’re seeking social events that realise this inner desire.

Big spenders

Gen X outspend all other generations when it comes to eating out and entertainment, according to the US Department of Labor. As busy professionals, they make a middle-class income, with an average of $50,400. By comparison, hyper-targeted Millennials make $34,430 on average. British Gen Xers make up nearly 28% of the UK’s total population and have the highest weekly expenditure (£894 vs. an average of £683).
With more disposable income at hand, and the added factor of dual income, they’re a powerful generation that are consuming at a rapid pace. Demographics expert Brad Edmondson writes: “60% of Gen X couples are in dual-income households. With more college education overall than any previous generation, many Gen Xers are financially successful and favour shopping at chains such as Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods Market and Rochester, New York-based Wegmans Food Markets.”
Gen X spend the most on wine ($5,717 per person) out of any generation. Wine Access’ 2018 report notes: “As their careers and incomes grow, it is Gen X who will be taking over from the Baby Boomer generation as the dominant fine-wine consuming demographic. In 2017, Gen X was the most likely to spend $70 on a bottle of wine more than once a month.”
It’s not just wine they’re spending big on, Gen X now makes up 23% of all restaurant visits, just 2% shy of Millennials at 25%. And according to a 2016 survey by TD Bank, while Gen X eat out on average of eight times per month, compared to Millennials at 13 times, Gen X spend an average of $123 versus Millennials’ $103.
Don’t overlook the purchasing power of the “small but mighty” generation. As Sean Mahoney, vice president and group director at Digitas Studios says, “They’re actually the people in power – power of the purse. They’re running households, they’re moving into political power, they’re in the centre of everything.”

Action points

  • As social multitaskers with hectic schedules, it’s important to grab Gen X’s attention where and when you can – Inkling (a mobile enablement platform designed to help employees build confidence and work more efficiently, while providing operations leaders total visibility into field performance) found TV was their top media source, with 60% saying a brand should be present on this channel to increase their chance of purchase.
  • Think of Gen X as a media-neutral generation – they grew up with old media (TV) and adapted seamlessly to new (social media), so they’re fluent in both.
  • Understanding that Gen X are time-poor is important. Brands that crop up at inappropriate times, especially during family time, may get dismissed. An intelligent approach that catches this cohort at the right time is essential. There are less windows of opportunity so content needs to be appropriately eye-catching and hyper relevant.
  • Brands that truly resonate with Gen X will have their hearts forever. This generation are most likely to be loyal, with three in five agreeing that once they find a brand they like, they’ll stick with it.

Source: WGSN