Overlooked? How beauty brands can win over Gen X

By Amanda Lim

- Last updated on GMT

Overlooked? How beauty brands can win over Gen X
While there is a lot of money to be made in the millennial space, Gen X consumers are arguably a stronger demographic when it comes to their spending power, but are they being overlooked?

“Generation Xers are in their peak earning years, and are key decision makers. They are intensely loyal to companies that serve them well and save them time, and they are willing to pay a premium for this. They have a special affinity for brands that they trust,” ​said Lan Vu, founder of trend intelligence agency BEAUTYSTREAMS.

Profile X

Born between 1965 and 1980, Generation X is sandwiched between Baby Boomers and Millennials. Vu describes them as the “generation that bridges the physical and digital worlds with ease.”

“Their memory of growing up in a computer-free world still lives strong in their minds, yet technology has become second nature to them.”

Today, a majority of Gen Xers are parents and full-time workers, some are raising children and possibly taking care of a parent.

Gen Xers are more educated than any other generation, said Vu, and their life is defined by constant multitasking. Consequently, time efficiency is key for this generation.

Vu told CosmeticsDesign Asia​ that BEAUTYSTREAMS has identified several archetypes of Gen X consumers, each with different lifestyles that affect their beauty buying habits.

They include a spectrum of consumers from Practical Professionals to Urban Hipsters.

The Practical Professionals are women who balance work and motherhood. They are the caregivers, and multitaskers, with barely any time left over for themselves.

“Practical Professionals like good quality basic beauty products, and are more interested in aging gracefully than ‘anti-aging’.  They will buy mostly buy quality generic products, but will splurge on the occasional trusted luxury beauty product.”

Urban Hipsters are the younger end of Gen X who curate their own look and lifestyle.

“They dare to be themselves, and refuse to follow the mainstream. Urban Hipsters celebrate uniqueness and are highly eco-conscious. They love indie natural brands, especially those from California, Australia, New Zealand. They are drawn to eclectic brand stories and customized beauty products.”

Reaching out to Xers

Not unlike millennials, Gen Xers are often found on their mobile devices and can be a key demographic for brands to target on social media platforms.

“While Xers are not digital natives, innovation and technology drive their day-to-day lives. Generation Xers are truly omnichannel, and use technology intuitively.”

However, being strapped for time, they do not have the luxury of surfing the web aimlessly.

“This is a generation that likes to research and follow brands, and stay informed about new products and services. They check reviews and watch tutorials carefully before buying.”

While they enjoy the experience shopping in bricks-and-mortar shops, Asian Gen Xers prefer purchasing online, said Vu. “Asian Xers are most likely to purchase products online: 58% of Asians opt for the ease of online shopping, compared to the global average of 49%.”

“Asian Xers are also most likely to post reviews of a product or service – 31% compared to the global average of 24%,” ​she added.

Emphasis on authenticity

According to Vu, Gen X consumers are “tired of being neglected and overlooked by brands”.

“As a generation with high disposable income, Xers want to be acknowledged, courted, and catered to,”​ she said.

To cater to them, beauty brands need to give them products that simplify their hectic lives. Generation X also craves authenticity. “They are looking for brands that live their values and reflect their own. Gen X are unimpressed by over-the-top claims. Xers seek authentic, sustainable, and eco-minded brands.”

This is due to their early years in the pre-digital era. “They have an ingrained nostalgia for their childhood and teen years, the pre-digital era where the Sony Walkman and Rubik’s Cube held sway.”

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