Ageing Gracefully: Why FMCG Brands Should Celebrate and Cater to Gen X in Europe


FMCG sector is always hustling to expand its customer base and seize a greater market share. However, in their relentless pursuit of expanding their reach, FMCG brands have often fixated on younger audiences, inadvertently overlooking the untapped potential of the Gen X demographic. Born between 1965 and 1979, this group represents a significant and growing market opportunity across many European countries. In this article, we will explore the reasons why FMCG brands should consider targeting this demographic, the benefits of doing so, and some tips for successfully engaging with this audience.


Why Target Gen X?

As the population ages, the Gen X demographic is becoming increasingly important segment of the community. According to Eurostat, the proportion of the population aged 65 and over in the European Union is projected to increase from 20% in 2020 to 29% in 2100. This demographic typically has more disposable income and fewer financial obligations, making them more willing to pay a premium for products that meet their needs and offer value for money.

Additionally, Gen X is an underserved market that presents a significant opportunity for FMCG brands. According to SheerID, a marketing platform, Gen X is more likely to be loyal to brands that offer them discounts, promotions, and exclusive deals. This group also values authenticity and honesty, and they respond well to marketing campaigns that are transparent and genuine.


The Unique Characteristics of Gen X Consumer Behaviour

Gen X is a unique demographic when it comes to consumer behaviour. While they still respond to traditional marketing channels like TV and print ads, they are also embracing digital channels like social media and email. This means that companies have a cost-effective way to reach and engage with them. Additionally, seniors are becoming increasingly tech-savvy, with many using smartphones, tablets, and computers on a daily basis. As a result, there's a growing market for technology products that cater to their needs. From health monitoring devices to voice-activated assistants, companies have an opportunity to develop products that appeal to this segment of the population and enhance their quality of life.

According to a recent study by Marketing Week, women aged 40 and over are putting age before reason and embracing their age. This trend is particularly noticeable among women in this age group, who are increasingly rejecting stereotypes and defying societal expectations, and who none-the-less, still want to look good. This presents an opportunity for FMCG brands to connect with this audience by creating marketing campaigns that celebrate their age and acknowledge their unique needs and preferences.

Moreover, Gen X are more likely to share their positive experiences with friends and family, making them valuable advocates for FMCG brands. By building strong relationships with this  defined group and offering them exclusive deals and promotions, FMCG brands can benefit from positive word-of-mouth marketing, which can lead to increased sales and market share.


So how can FMCG brands successfully engage with Gen X ?

Understand their needs and preferences: 

This demographic has unique needs and preferences, and it's essential to understand what they are looking for in products and marketing campaigns. It is important therefore, to conduct research and use data to develop products and campaigns that resonate with this audience.


Offer exclusive deals and promotions:

This segment is more likely to be loyal to brands that offer them discounts and exclusive deals. Consider offering discounts for first-time purchases or loyalty rewards for repeat customers.


Be transparent and genuine:

Gen X values authenticity and honesty, so it's essential to ensure that marketing campaigns are transparent and genuine. Avoid using misleading claims or making false promises. Instead, focus on highlighting the unique benefits and features of your products.


Celebrate age and diversity.

As they get older, Gen X  are increasingly embracing their age and diversity, and FMCG brands can tap into this trend by creating campaigns that celebrate and acknowledge the unique needs and preferences of this demographic. Highlight the benefits of your products and how they cater to the needs of this audience.


Focus on health and wellness:

FMCG brands can also tap into the health and wellness needs of this demographic, as Gen X is more likely to be concerned about their health and well-being than younger consumers. This group is more likely to have health conditions that require specific dietary or lifestyle changes, and they are willing to pay more for products that cater to these needs. FMCG brands that develop products that cater to the health and wellness needs of this demographic can tap into a lucrative market and build a positive brand image.

And given that, as people age, their health becomes more of a concern, this is reflected in consumer behaviour, with seniors being more likely to purchase products that promote health and wellness. From supplements to fitness equipment, there is a growing demand for products that cater to their health needs.   

The original eco warriors:

Gen X tend to be more eco-conscious than some younger consumers, which is reflected in their consumer behaviour, as they are more likely to purchase sustainable and environmentally friendly products. FMCG brands that can show their commitment to sustainability have an excellent opportunity to appeal to people in this group  and to build a positive brand image. This can be achieved by using eco-friendly materials and packaging or by promoting the company's environmental practices. For example, using biodegradable packaging or partnering with recycling programs can be an effective way to demonstrate a commitment to sustainability.

Moreover, FMCG brands should make it clear that they are environmentally conscious by providing information about their sustainable practices on their packaging or website. This not only appeals to seniors but also attracts those younger consumers who  do happen to also be influenced by concepts of sustainability.     

Social Responsibility & Diversity :

To connect with the Gen X demographic, FMCG brands should highlight their dedication to social responsibility and community involvement. This group values social causes and supports brands that share their values. By collaborating with organisations that promote social causes, FMCG brands can exhibit their commitment to creating a positive impact in society and thus further appeal to the Gen X audience. 

It's also essential for brands to acknowledge the diversity within the Gen X demographic and to take a multicultural approach to marketing campaigns so as to be inclusive of all members. As Gen X prefers socially responsible brands, it is crucial for FMCG companies to engage in charitable causes and community programs in order to build a positive brand image and also to secure the loyalty of this demographic. By prioritising sustainability and social responsibility, FMCG brands can effectively engage with and appeal to Gen X consumers.


Simplify their lives

Another way FMCG brands can appeal to the Gen X demographic is by offering products and services that simplify their daily lives. With many having busy schedules, they are more likely to buy products that make their lives easier. This includes products such as meal delivery services, cleaning services and supplies, and personal care items that are designed for their specific needs. By developing products that cater to these needs, FMCG brands can make their lives easier, saving them time and money, which incentivises their purchase of the products for sale     


Finally, FMCG brands should focus on building long-term relationships with the Gen X demographic. This demographic tends to be loyal to brands that offer them value and cater to their needs. Therefore, it's essential for FMCG brands to focus on building trust and loyalty with this audience by consistently delivering high-quality products and services that meet their needs.

The Gen X demographic represents a significant opportunity for FMCG brands across Europe. This group is becoming increasingly important as its population ages and has more disposable income and fewer financial obligations. By targeting Gen X and developing products and marketing campaigns that cater to their unique needs and preferences, FMCG brands can tap into a lucrative market and gain a competitive edge. However, to do so successfully, it's essential for brands to understand the needs and preferences of this audience, and to offer them exclusive deals and promotions, while  being transparent and genuine. As we have established, it would be both lucrative and valuable for brands to build long-term relationships with the Gen X group, but, in order to do so, it is necessary to use a multi-channel approach, celebrate age and diversity, focus on health and wellness, showcase social responsibility, and to recognise diversity. By doing so, FMCG brands can create a positive brand image, and in so doing, position themselves to appeal to the significant Gen X audience in Europe.


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