The Pull Agency
Brand Architecture - Why it isn't what it used to be
Gen X Marks the Spot: How brands can harness their spending power
Blog / Brand Health & Beauty

Gen X Marks the Spot: How brands can harness their spending power


In the fast-paced world of beauty, engaging consumers is essential for a brand’s success. And, while much attention is often given to targeting Millennials and Gen Z, another significant demographic is majorly overlooked: Gen X. In fact, less than 5% of marketing strategies in the US target women over 50, even though they’re outspending young and older consumers by 44%! So why is this consumer ignored?
Born roughly between the early 1960s and early 1980s, Gen X represents a powerful consumer group with distinct preferences and purchasing habits. And one with money to spend. In fact, as our recent Future of Beauty research revealed, they’re at the peak of their spending power, with 94% having money left after bills and spending 53% more than Gen Z on skin or hair care products. So, why is this consumer overlooked and can your brand afford to ignore them for much longer?

In my first blog with Pull (yes, I know, it’s pretty scary yet surprisingly empowering at the same time) I’ll explore the behaviours and attitudes of Gen X, by tapping into purchasing habits and how marketers can learn how to engage with them effectively, as well as spotlighting those brands already smashing it with Gen X, and discussing what your brand can learn from this.

 Gen X - Visual Capitalist
So, first things first - exactly who are Gen X? Aged 40-55, they’re super-active, confident and, as we’ve already mentioned, at the peak of their spending power. They’re highly confident digital explorers, using various channels to learn and shop for their health and beauty needs. They’re no ‘digital dinosaurs’ - in fact, Gen X are twice as likely to browse on YouTube for a tutorial video than any other consumer. It’s clear what they want, and they know how to get it. They are not ready to be labelled ‘old’ just yet, and to be honest, it's just a number right?! And with 88% of them telling us they’re willing to try something new, they are showcasing that they are open and more adventurous than you might have assumed.

With so many products, ingredients, new brands and changing trends, it can be easy for anyone to feel overwhelmed by the amount of choice on offer. Yet as mentioned above, when it comes to marketing these products, the vast majority are either targeted at Gen Z and Millennials, or older, Baby Boomer consumers. With this combination of huge variety in the sector and neglect from brands and advertisers, it’s little wonder Gen X feel ignored.

So, what do they want?

To put it simply, there’s a few things they want:
  • Authenticity: They want it real and relatable! Real people, real stories, real results. Whether that’s reviews from like-minded users, relatable content, or images and video featuring users that remind them of themselves, Gen X want to see themselves represented and reflected back.  
  • Honesty: They want a brand that they feel loyal to and trust, one that partners with their ideals during the next journey of womanhood and one that makes them feel good.
  • Simplicity: No nonsense/faddy ingredients and made up/pseudo-scientific jargon. With 45% preferring single step hybrid products over multi step routines, Gen X aren’t interested in fluff. Time-poor with careers, families or caring for older relatives, these consumers lead busy lives, so get to the point! Whether that’s simple effective copy and communication or fuss-free, effective products.  
Pretty simple right? So how are brands and marketers not getting this right? Well, here are a few examples of brands who are nailing it, building brand loyalty with Gen X and delivering results at the same time. And if Gen X make up part of your audience, there’s plenty to be learned from each.

“Simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance” – Coco Channel


Iris & Romeo:

Iris & Romeo raises $5 million with latest seed funding

Iris & Romeo are an organic skincare and makeup brand, best known for their ‘hybrid products’ that delivers results from an 8-step skin routine in just one single product! They embody the idea of their products being simple yet effective with a strong focus on making self-care easy and accessible.

How do they get it right? 
  • Hybrid Products: Not only is the brand’s USP but it’s a really effective one. Why? Well, as our research showed, Gen X women pretty much want it all - high quality product performance but without the need for a long, complicated routine. Because why would they spend time on this when they could be doing something else? Iris & Romeo realised this, and their simple, accessible products make them a winner for this demographic.
  • Normalising getting older: Going back to my point earlier about partnering ideals, women can go on a journey with the brand which normalises aging but in a way that makes the consumer feel confident. The brand uses content generators in their 40s and 50s, showing skin texture without retouching and celebrate that beauty can be found at any age. Once you have that consumer on that journey with you, they’re hooked, with Gen X more loyal than other generations
  • Real People Who represents your brand is an important part of your brand image, so you must pick the right person. The women used in Iris & Romeo’s content feel authentic, real and relatable to the audience, so when Gen X view the imagery, they feel part of the community as they see themselves represented and reflected back.
  • Tutorial Video: Our research found 75% of Gen X consumers are most likely to go onto platforms such a YouTube to watch a ‘how to’-style beauty videos. So, guess what the brand has done? They produce tonnes of ‘how to’ videos so customers can learn how to apply the product onto their skin, helping them feel informed, reassured and like they’ve made an empowered choice.


“Aging has a wonderful beauty, and we should have respect for that.”Eartha Kitt


Neal’s Yard