Savvy, sceptical and self-reliant: we are the Gen Xers. Aged 38 to 53, we are those ones able to reinvent our identity shaking off stereotypes that imply we’re lazy or lack direction. According to a report released by Stylus, with a worldwide spending power of $2.33tn (IBM Watson, 2017) and with a higher online spend than our millennial counterparts (KPMG, 2017), we represent a huge untapped market. We also powerfully influence the age groups above and below us, proof we shouldn’t be overlooked.
Gen X is turning to brands, entertainment and role models that celebrate midlife with humour and honesty – we read on the report-. Despite clear concerns about their financial situation and retirement prospects, Gen X are surprisingly relaxed about planning for their financial future. They’re coming to terms with debt and seeking empathetic advice. Self-governing and armed with tech skills, Gen X is also outpacing other generations in entrepreneurship. They’re also seen as the generation best equipped to manage in economic conditions through 2020 (EY, 2013).
Unfortunately, only occasionally do brands reflect this new reality. More than three-quarters of American females say they play a negative role in perceptions of women over the age of 40, and 80% say they underestimate their intelligence (Fancy, 2018).
Brands need to recognise this target made by ‘midlifers’ with a positive, open and youthful spirit. They need to be more inclusive, stop assuming older women want to be 25 again and seeing their growing diversity in terms of career status and family (no kids, young kids or an empty nest). Women are feeling powerful and fulfilled, and they have no idea why brands treat them like they are only interested in hiding their incontinence, smoothing their wrinkles or essentially just not being over 40.
More than 80% of American women aged over 40 feel younger, sexier or cooler than they’d expected to (Fancy, 2018) and they are seeking the same from brands: vibrant, multidimensional portrayals and a meaningful grasp of their difficulties, along with new solutions. Women over 40 have seen a lot and done a lot. You can’t connect with fakeness and bullshit.