Frugal Gen-Xers Positive On Economy

According to SymphonyIRI’s Q3 2012 MarketPulse study, Generation X generally has a positive outlook on the economy, but are more frugal than baby boomers and seniors. On the surface, it may seem Gen-Xers have more in common with boomers, but the reality is that they share many of the same penny-pitching, tech-savvy traits of Millennials, says the report.

Susan Viamari, editor of Times & Trends, SymphonyIRI, says “... sandwiched between baby boomers and Millennials, Gen-Xers are aged 35 to 44... sometimes referred to as the ‘ignored generation’... and their spending power should not be overlooked by CPG retailers and manufacturers.”

CPG Shopping Behavior (% of Respondents)






Buy brands on sale vs. preferred brands





Select products to create more meals at lowest price





Chose products base on loyalty card discounts





Stear clear of certain aisles to avoid unplanned purchases





Source: SymphonyIRI, October 2012

Gen-Xers were graduating from college and entering the adult world after the 1987 stock market crash and the recession that followed, so many were left jobless and moved in with their parents, says the report. This “bleak inheritance” shaped their future financial attitudes and shopping behaviors much like The Great Recession has influenced Millennials.
Even though Gen-Xers are more financially optimistic versus the average shopper... 24% think their financial situation has improved during the last 12 months, and 37% feel their finances will improve during the coming year... this generation is very cost conscious and careful about their purchases.

According to MarketPulse survey results of Gen-Xers:

  • 37% buy brands that are on sale rather than their preferred brands versus 45% of Millennials, 27% of boomers, and 22% of seniors
  • 32% select products to create more meals at the lowest cost possible versus 39% of Millennials, 27% of boomers and 19% of seniors
  • 33% choose products based on loyalty card discounts versus 35% of Millennials, 25% of boomers and 16% of seniors
  • 20% steer clear of certain aisles to avoid unplanned purchases versus 22% of Millennials, 15% of boomers and 11% of seniors

Gen-Xers also do their homework before heading to the store:

  • 69% make shopping lists and use a variety of tools in their list-making process
  • 49% review circulars,
  • 48% use coupons,
  • 14% leverage the Internet, and
  • 10% refer to a retailer’s website.

Millennials (GenY) are often touted as the most tech-savvy generation, but Generation X is actually on par with Millennials and more “wired” than boomers and seniors when it comes to CPG-related behaviors:

  • 55% of Gen-Xers download recipes off websites and other online sources
  • 52% download coupons from manufacturer websites
  • 51% download coupons from retailer websites
  • 51% download coupons from couponing sites
  • 38% research products online
  • 35% visit deal sites
  • 31% use social media sites to get coupons
  • 23% look for updates from retailers/manufacturers via email/text message
  • 18% research products on blogs
  • 7% purchase groceries online and have them delivered

Viamari concludes that ”... Millennials are trying to get their feet on the ground... going to take them longer than older, more established shoppers... but the good news is that all age groups are beginning to show signs of optimism, boding well for CPG marketers... “

For additional information from SymphonyIRI, please visit here.




2 comments about "Frugal Gen-Xers Positive On Economy".
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  1. Kate Baumgart Hogenson from Loyalty Landscape, November 7, 2012 at 11:43 a.m.

    As a loyalty expert, the row of figures that jumped out at me was that Millenials are more likely to choose products based on a loyalty card than Boomers. This confirms what we've also seen in proprietary research -- that consumers under 35 are highly engaged in loyalty programs. However, it is exactly the reverse of the "accepted wisdom" among CMOs and commentators within the loyalty press that loyalty programs appeal only to Boomers. Thanks for this research.

  2. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, December 1, 2012 at 11:04 p.m.

    Now break it down by income and economic responsibilities and see how more things change, the more they stay the same.

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