Gen X Makes a Strategic Shift to Digital

There has been a seismic shift to digital media over the past decade and generations including Gen Z and Alpha (digital natives) are fully immersed in all things digital. Older generations, including Gen X, are taking a more selective approach, balancing their long-standing relationship with linear TV and radio with the lure of digital video and social media.

Gen X is a pragmatic generation. While they have great spending power, they are also shouldering heavy responsibilities including caring for aging parents, their children, and often managing immense debt. 

When we look at this generation’s shift to digital, we find they are slower and more strategic about how they integrate digital into their lives. 

Gen X, aged 44-59, grew up watching their favorite TV shows on one of four channels. Their parents watched the nightly news, both local and national, on linear. Cable expanded what they could watch with a wide array of programming including MTV and live sports. When the cord-cutting trend took hold, Gen Xers made the shift, but at a slower rate. 

They still spend about 40 minutes more per day watching linear TV than the average person and almost 10 minutes more than average listening to broadcast radio. But the gap between linear and digital is closing as the importance of online media grows for Gen X.

They are prioritizing digital video, social channels, and online shopping. Roughly 80% of Gen Xers have adopted these, whereas other digital habits have a penetration rate of less than 56%, eMarketer reports.

When it comes to video and social platforms, YouTube is a favorite, seen as a visual encyclopedia (77.2% penetration rate) and Facebook is viewed as a point of connection with friends and family as well as news and information (73% penetration rate). Instagram and TikTok are also on the rise as Gen X experiments with new social platforms.

Gen Xers are avid online shoppers, even more so than Gen Z. They digitally outshop the younger generations by 6.8 million users. Price-conscious and savvy, they’re incentivized to buy with amenities like free delivery and easy return policies.

Advertisers can take advantage of the precision digital advertising offers to effectively engage Gen X where they are spending their time and making purchase decisions.Want to learn more about Gen X and their shift to digital? Reach out to start a discussion. We’re all ears.

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