Gen X - US Attitudes and Trends

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Gen X - US Attitudes and Trends

US Gen X individuals are highly skeptical of healthcare professionals, including nutritionists, but the majority are willing to consult a variety of professionals, often obtaining third opinions, in order to make informed decisions. As a generation, they are hungry for information, and will remain loyal to a professional or source that they trust, as well as stick to a wellness plan once they choose one. Unlike Millennials, Gen Xers define "healthy" as "not sick," which makes them more likely to purchase reactive wellness products. As their purchase power grows, they are also more likely to turn to luxury wellness and health products, such as wellness travel. Some brands that are having traction with Gen Xers are Chobani, Stevia, Naked Juices, Cuties and Halos.

GEN XERS: SKEPTICAL BUT WILLING TO BE INFORMED

Gen Xers are highly skeptical of wellness professionals, which despite not being directly specified, presumably includes all healthcare professionals and nutritionists. While this generation includes individuals born between 1965 and 1984, the research indicates that among the younger members of this generation, such as those born between 1978 and 1984, approximately 65% have consulted a nutritionist or dietician about their food choices, while 54% have consulted a fitness professional. "More than baby boomers and millennials, Gen Xers look to a variety of sources for information, including family members, coworkers, their doctors, pharmaceutical company websites, medical journals, television programs, news websites, and books," writes Lynn O'Connor in StatNews. Additionally, as the chief healthcare decision-makers in their families, they are motivated to shop for the best fitness, wellness, and healthcare products and services that suit their families' needs, and they routinely seek second and third opinions when confronted with their options, a "generational tic" described as "chronic."

However, they are also the most loyal generation (both to people and brands), and once they find a healthcare professional they trust, they will stay with them for years. They are also hungry for information, more so than Millennials or Boomers, and are highly likely to stick to a wellness plan once they pick it. It is crucial to note that once Gen Xers commit to a wellness plan, they enjoy variety and expect "fun mixed with performance." Favorite fitness activities include running, biking, and weight training, and Gen Xers are particularly fond of group fitness classes, which includes the crucial element of fitness combined with fun socializing. An important finding is that Gen Xers currently represent the largest portion of health club members, and they comprise 33% of all fitness facility members in the United States in 2018, where they are likely to maintain their memberships one year longer than the average club user. In addition, the availability of offerings that suit their Gen Z children is an increasingly attractive feature.

As a cynical generation (which has often been pointed out as a flaw), they are not likely to buy into fads or diet plans unless there is solid evidence that they work. "It turns out that the cynicism Generation X has been criticized for is a 'strength when evaluating trends and fads.'," writes Sarah Hentges in "Women and Fitness in American Culture."

In terms of healthcare, Gen Xers are currently in the middle of the road — both caring for growing children and aging parents, so their needs in healthcare and wellness are very wide. They are also equally concerned with their own health and looks — 40% say they are more concerned with the way they look as they age, and 24% would consider surgery to alter their looks.

HIGHLY LOYAL AND WITH INCREASING PURCHASING POWER

Brand loyalty is higher among Gen Xers, compared to both Millennials and Boomers — a fact echoed in almost all sources consulted. "And despite their purportedly cynical attitude, Xers happen to boast the highest rate of brand loyalty, at 70 percent, according to eMarketer," writes Robert Klara for AdWeek.

According to TechCo, Generation Xers are most loyal in all sectors — except for furniture and home goods, in which Millennials are the most loyal. In beauty and wellness, Gen Xers are 86% loyal — the highest percentage for all generations. However, Gen Xers are also the generation most focused on customer service — this generation is the most likely to switch to a competitor if they receive poor customer service.

One wellness product attracting interest from Gen Xers is wellness travel. Particularly as Gen Xers entered the peak of their careers and gained more purchasing power, they value more elements like sleep clinics, medical centers, spas, fitness facilities and outdoor activities when planning trips. Travel Weekly found in a 2015 survey published in 2016 that the bulk of wellness travelers is now made up of Gen Xers and younger Boomers. These findings echo previously discussed findings that Gen Xers want fitness to be fun.

Traditionally, Gen Xers (alongside Boomers) define "healthy" as "not sick," so they are most likely to buy reactive wellness products — as opposed to Millennials, who have a more holistic view of health and wellness. However, Gen Xers are increasingly paying attention to nutrition (mostly due to the fact that they are getting older) and are engaging more with health-conscious brands. According to Nielsen, some brands that are having a lot of success with Gen Xers are Chobani, Stevia, Cuties, Naked Juices and Halos.

In terms of clothing, however, it is unclear what brands are favored by Gen Xers. Whereas Millennials are clear consumers of athleisure (they spend more on it than Gen Xers or Boomers), Gen Xers' habits in terms of sporty clothes are more blurred. Adidas is one brand that used to have traction with Gen Xers but lost its luster in recent years, according to Time.

CONCLUSION

To wrap up, Gen Xers in the US are highly skeptical of all healthcare professionals, including nutritionists, but increasing evidence indicates the majority are willing to consult a variety of professionals, often obtaining third opinions, in order to make informed decisions. They are likely to turn to reactive and luxury wellness products. Some brands that Gen Xers are engaging with are nutrition-conscious brands such as Chobani, Stevia, Cuties, Naked Juices and Halos.
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