(The Facts About User Behaviors You Can’t Miss — Blog 4 of 5)
Why is everyone from big corporate marketers to small tech startups so eager to understand the psychology of different generations? Especially Generation X (born 1965 to 1980) and Generation Y (“Millennials”--born 1981 through 1996), in particular? Because the market size is enormous; Millennials* (73 million Americans) and Gen X (66 million Americans) make up close to half of the U.S. population.
Businesses that want to win over half of America’s consumers need to understand their (ever-changing) user behavior. The two generations have some interesting overlaps (and are said to have the most in common of any two generations), but they also have their differences, influenced by factors like how old they were when different technologies were introduced, or how the economy has fared during their lifetime. Think about how different the spending habits are of the “Lost Generation,” the “Silent Generation” and the “Greatest Generation”--those who grew up during World War I, the Great Depression, and World War II, respectively.
Any analysis is fluid; there’s always new information, and we’re constantly learning about user behaviors. To keep up to date, we’ve gathered a few insightful and current data points about Gen X’s and Millennials’ consumer behavior to shed some light on what they’re looking for--and potentially inform future market behaviors.
Alongside Baby Boomers, Gen X is the generation to which companies market the most, in part because they have typically had more disposable income. But like we said, things change--and now they have a lot of debt. (Despite this, a years-long data study by wine marketers showed Gen X still has huge purchasing power.)
Gen Xers and Millennials are the most active online consumers, making purchases more than half the time on their mobile devices. Still, Gen X prefers their laptops and desktops, as only 17% use their smartphones for internet access exclusively.
The fastest-growing use of online shopping for Generation X? Groceries! Between 2018 and 2019, online grocery shopping for Gen X increased 11 percentage points, with a preference toward “supercenters.”
When it comes to shopping, both appreciate value. Gen Xers love their coupons, which marketers predict will remain steady at this aging group enters retirement. In place of coupons, 77% of Millennials prefer loyalty programs and product freebies like no-cost shipping. When they do use coupons, they want them in digital formats.
Gen X is increasingly engaging with social media via apps, while Millennials are starting to spend less time on social media. The reason? They say social sites are leading them to spend money they don’t have.
Technology & Media
Millennials may have influenced their elders, as more Gen Xers are opting for streaming services, and are steadily spending more time watching long-form video content (like movies) on their mobiles. In other words, they are getting much more comfortable with smaller screens and new tech providers. (Both Gen Xers and Millennials ranked their technology use as one of the defining characteristics of their generation, compared to others.)
Millennials love Apple’s designs, products, and operation systems. They are almost 22% more likely to own Macs and are on top of new iPhone releases. They use tablets at the same rate as every other generation.
As just about every company further automates its services, how do these two groups feel about bots? Research says Gen Xers don’t mind them, with 44% opting to use bots to communicate with businesses when it’s available (though Millennials are credited for driving their adoption).
Email marketing remains an effective channel for Gen Xers, who are often on Outlook at the workplace. 80% of them prefer this medium, in addition to direct mail. Not so for Millennials, who were still in high school in the 1990s and 2000s. In fact, almost all of them are listening to the radio for a total of 11 hours per week!
Stay tuned for our next blog post dedicated to Generation Z user behavior, coming soon!
*A small fraction of individuals, known as Xennials, have struggled with where their identity lies, based on birth years of the late 1970s to early 1980s. In this post, we are grouping them in with the Millennials generation. We’ll cover Generation Z user behavior analytics in an upcoming blog.