Gen X: Understanding the Nuances of Today’s Top-Earning Generation

Gen X: Understanding the Nuances of Today’s Top-Earning Generation

The average pre-tax income for Gen-X households is $101,001 and that means serious buying power. Are marketers and brands paying attention?



It never made much sense for marketers to ignore Generation X—and it makes even less sense now that Gen X households earn and spend more than other age groups, according to a recent eMarketer report titled “Gen X 2019: It’s Still Stupid to Ignore Them.

According to the Bureau of Labor, Gen X-headed households have an average pre-tax income of $101,001—nearly $25,000 higher than the average for total households. One reason for the disparity is that there is an average of 1.7 earners per household for Gen X, vs. 1.3 for total households. One reason for this, as Resonate CMO Ericka Podesta McCoy told eMarketer, is that Gen X came into adulthood before the advent of the internet eroded a traditional work ethic. “You didn’t have all that kind of fast money,” McCoy told eMarketer. “You weren’t dealing with ‘I could be an influencer,’ right?”


That said, as their online shopping habits indicate, Gen Xers are a very digital cohort. But they grew up with traditional media and are not completely abandoning it. “They certainly have adopted technology, but technology was not transforming the way they grew up,” McCoy told eMarketer.

For that matter, the eMarketer report points out, Gen Xers are less inclined than younger consumers to use social media as a platform for venting about a product or company. According to McCoy, this ties into the “middle child” tendencies of Gen Xers, who have always gotten less attention than boomers and millennials.


That said, despite being one of the smallest generations, Resonate insights have found that Generation X has the biggest differences between its older members compared to its younger counterparts. Older Gen Xers, age 46-53, and younger Gen Xers, 38-45, have different lifestyles that impact their purchasing behavior—both segments are married, but older Gen Xers don’t have children under age 18, while nearly half of their younger counterparts do. The gulf continues with older Gen Xers focusing on safety for themselves and their families, while younger Gen Xers focus on being humble. They both are driven by caring for family and friends, but older Gen Xers also want to be seen as a reliable and trustworthy family member.

To learn more about Gen X’s spending power and shopping habits, download eMarketer’s full report here.

Want to learn more about the nuances between older and younger Gen X members? Check out this Resonate infographic.

Categorized as: Consumer Insights, Market, Brand

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