In a groundbreaking study conducted by Wavemaker, it has become increasingly clear that marketers may be squandering substantial profits by consistently overlooking Generation X, often overshadowed by the elusive Gen Z

What makes this revelation even more striking is that Gen X is well on its way to becoming the wealthiest generation in history, as they are poised to inherit an astounding $70 trillion (£57.7 trillion) from the Baby Boomer generation. 

This demographic, often associated with nostalgia, not only actively participates in social media but also constitutes the fastest-growing user base on TikTok.

The Invisible Generation in Social Advertising

Despite their significant presence on social media platforms, the shocking reality is that only a mere 13% of Gen X feels acknowledged in social advertising, as per the recent comprehensive report from Wavemaker. 

Astonishingly, a staggering 92% of Gen Xers use social media every day, contributing to an impressive 28% of TikTok’s user base. However, this invaluable demographic accounts for a meagre 5% of brand spending on influencer campaigns. 

However, to compound the issue, the advertising industry has only allocated a pitiful 4% of its generation-specific research budget to include Gen X.

The Cry for Attention

The senior insight director at Wavemaker passionately expresses dismay at the lack of comprehensive research on Gen X, given their imminent status as the wealthiest generation with immense potential for long-term brand loyalty

The study, which scrutinised the behaviour of 200,000 Gen Xers worldwide, deployed five different research methods to arrive at its conclusions. These included a qualitative study involving 60 participants from the United States, India, and the United Kingdom, who candidly discussed their social media attitudes and behaviours. 

Additionally, ‘Audience Origin,’ a prosperity syndicated survey from Group M, contributed data from a whopping 67,000 Gen Xers. On-device content testing observed the interactions of 4,000 Gen Xers with influencer campaigns, while influencer marketing agency Goat provided insights from 7,000 Gen Xers. 

Moreover, a meta-analysis of studies conducted across three markets in four categories between 2019 and 2022 was performed by Momentum.

Gen X: The Economic Powerhouse

Currently aged between 45 to 60, Gen Xers hold the purse strings for an impressive 27% of global spending. Their earnings and savings have been on a consistent upward trajectory, positioning them to inherit trillions in the coming years. 

Despite this, Gen X remains severely underrepresented in advertising. A mere 24% of television advertisements feature characters over 50, with a staggering 76% predominantly focusing on the age group ranging from 19 to 49.

The Impact of Being Unseen

The repercussions of this invisibility are profound. Gen Xers report feeling unseen by the industry, with a disheartening rate of only 13%. While this figure is significantly lower than that of younger generations, it still surpasses the recognition granted to Baby Boomers, who score just 9%. 

This disparity in visibility directly translates into significantly lower engagement levels. Influencer campaigns targeting Gen Xers witness a disheartening 30% lower retention rate and 20% fewer interactions with content, compared to their Gen Z and millennial counterparts. 

Moreover, the impact on brand opinion registers a shocking 47% lower, highlighting the critical importance of engaging this demographic effectively.

Understanding Gen X’s Unique Preferences

To successfully capture the attention and loyalty of Gen X, brands must deviate from the strategies employed for their younger counterparts. 

Impressively, Gen X creators have demonstrated superior performance when catering to their own demographic, producing content that is 75% lengthier than posts from Gen Z creators. 

Furthermore, the tone and content of campaigns preferred by Gen Xers differ substantially, with a clear preference for self-improvement language over the more sales-oriented approach embraced by younger creators. 

What’s more, trust emerges as a crucial factor, with Gen X placing 30% more emphasis on it than younger generations when making purchasing decisions.


TikTok is an exercise in nostalgia for GenXers. Prove me wrong. #genx #generationx #genxnostalgia

♬ original sound – Dr. Jennifer

A Lucrative Opportunity for Brands

In conclusion, the revelations brought to the forefront by this study present an exceptional opportunity for brands. Gen X represents a demographic that is not only highly engaged and loyal but also financially affluent. 

Consequently, advertisers cannot afford to continue overlooking this potent consumer group. Extensive research demonstrates that Gen Xers exhibit greater brand loyalty, possess longer attention spans, and exhibit higher engagement levels on social media compared to their younger counterparts.

As the marketing landscape continues to evolve, recognising and catering to the unique characteristics and preferences of Gen X is imperative. By tailoring marketing strategies to resonate with this influential demographic, brands can tap into the hidden goldmine that Generation X represents. 

In doing so, they stand to unlock a wealth of potential and secure a loyal customer base that can drive long-term success and profitability for their brand and business.