Sign saying, "Generation X"

Talkin' 'bout my generation…Media Usage by Generation X


Just in case you don’t know, Generation X (my generation) is the term often applied to those who were born between the years of 1965 and 1980. Often abbreviated as Gen X, we are commonly referred to as Gen Xers. And we have sometimes been called the “sandwich generation,” as we often feel squeezed between the Baby Boomer and Millennial generations.

I’m part of a generation that makes up more than 30% of the American population, and we have vast purchasing power! In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, we outspend all other generations when it comes to housing, clothing, eating out and entertainment. While we are experienced with purchasing both in-store and online, we still consume traditional media. Consider these stats regarding Gen Xers’ media consumption:

  • 95% of Gen Xers use Facebook.
  • Gen Xers average just over 2 hours a day on social media — with females spending the longest time there, an average of 2 hours and 15 minutes a day.
  • 58.2 million Gen Xers use the internet every day.
  • 72% use the internet to research businesses.
  • Gen Xers spend 21 hours on smartphones, 9 hours on PCs and 4 hours on tablets — per week.
  • 48% of Gen Xers list to the radio.
  • 62% of Gen Xers read newspapers.
  • 85% of Gen Xers watch traditional television.

Generation X is the first group to experience the emergence of music videos and MTV, along with the birth of the internet. We may remember a world before the internet, but don’t let that fool you — we are well-versed in technology.

Gen Xers are catching up with the Millennials and Gen Zers on social media. Facebook has the highest following from this audience, but the number of Gen Xers on Instagram and Snapchat has almost doubled since 2015. For Gen Xers, social media serves two primary purposes when it comes to business — brand discovery and brand advocacy. Six in 10 Gen Xers say they regularly inform friends and family about new products — and social media is a convenient way to to do this. So realizing the potential of their influence on this platform is crucial.

We’ve made strides toward adopting new media and devices as well. According to Global Web Index, in 2015 Gen Xers spent just under 4 hours a day using PCs/laptops. But now, the time spent on those devices has fallen to a little over 3 hours, and smartphones have become the popular device Gen Xers are now using. Watching TV on smartphones has surpassed the use of PCs/laptops for Gen Xers, but on the other side of that, about 34% of us still prefer watching a traditional TV set to watching online TV. Moreover, 36% of us discover brands from ads that are seen on TV, making this an important touchpoint for marketing purposes.

Technology does not scare Gen Xers. We have adopted social media and online shopping, and we are the first generation to look to the internet when we need general information. It is very important to us to have the latest technological products, and we are more likely to invest in technology that can provide value in our daily lives. One example of this is smart home products — the most popular being smart speakers, smart utility and security devices.

With all of this being said, we have not reached the tipping point where mobile is the only device we use. So a multi-device approach is important in reaching us, and strategies should be in place for both smartphones and PCs/laptops.

Sources: BigCommerce and Global Web Index