How to Draw in the Elusive Gen X with Your Mobile App

April 24, 2022

When it comes to marketing mobile apps, it’s easy to count Gen X out. After all, just as Millennials struggled to break out of their image as aimless teens, Gen X is easily branded as a technologically-adverse group. However, Gen X has steadily developed its own strong and unique relationship with technology and mobile apps over the years, and has emerged as a solid group for targeting.

And while there is a lot of information available about the kinds of apps that both Millennials and Gen Z love, there is less available about what makes Gen X tick. So we’re filling the gap by breaking down exactly what Gen X looks like, what they value, and how you can use that to develop and market a mobile app that they will love too!

Who is Gen X?

Gen X, or Generation X, is the generation before Millennials and after Baby Boomers. Their age range is generally thought of as 42-57. Because this generation did not grow up with the Internet permeating their life experience, they are often thought of as not being plugged in. However, this is far from true. Studies have shown that Gen X actually averages about 2 ½ hours of screen time daily, which is certainly less screen time than younger generations, but is by no means insignificant.

Gen X members are likely to be established professionals and heads of households. Because of their time in the workforce, they have a lot of purchasing power, which is great news for app makers. But, their busy lifestyles mean that they are less likely to casually browse the Internet and use their smartphones than younger generations. Therefore, app developers will have to focus on creating apps that reflect these habits.

App Design for Gen X

Because Gen X is driven by specificity, app design must be as well. The best mobile app design for Gen X will emphasize ease of use when it comes to UI and UX because this generation doesn’t feel they can spend unnecessary time searching for what they need. App creators and app marketers alike will want to focus on the ease of the purchase journey with their mobile app if they hope to loop Gen X in.

Additionally, Gen X has very specific concerns and interests that may or may not overlap with their younger counterparts. They’re most likely to be thinking about parenting, health, travel, and lifestyle. These factors play into not only what types of apps are most likely to get their attention, but how those apps should look and feel as well.

Some examples of apps that may draw Gen X in with their purpose and UI include:

  • Nike Run Club – An app for everyone, from absolute beginners to seasoned runners. Users can enjoy stats tracking, guided runs, and monthly challenges. Gen X users will appreciate the community aspect of the app which allows users to complete challengers in groups.
  • YouTube – This app functions almost exactly like the website itself, allowing Gen X users to quickly access how-to videos for any handy projects they might take on, or even reviews about products they might be interested in trying. While the majority of Gen X is still introduced to new brands through traditional advertising, this doesn’t mean they won’t be swayed by digital channels as well.
  • JetBlue – Another defining characteristic of Gen X is their tendency to be loyal customers of a brand they love. Travel brands like JetBlue are taking advantage of this with apps that allow users to book travel anywhere at any time. Users can login and easily input their JetBlue TrueBlue number in order to rack up points even when they don’t book travel on a computer or over the phone. It also allows users to receive rewards for additional purchases such as upgrades or additional baggage.

Gen X and Social Media

A large misconception about Gen X is that they don’t use social media. They’re often thought of as wagging their fingers at younger generations for spending all day scrolling through their social pages. But in reality, Gen X highly values relationships and they comprise the majority of Facebook users. This is the most popular social media amongst the generation, and you’re still unlikely to see them take TikTok by storm anytime soon. But a socially-focused app or an app that centers around a true community experience is likely to excite Gen X.

Additionally, social media can be an effective way for marketers to advertise their mobile apps to Gen X. In fact, about 30% of Gen X report using social media specifically for the purpose of finding products to buy. This means that if you target your product correctly by including and highlighting the features most likely to draw this audience in, you will find more success than you think outside of more traditional channels.

Gen X Mobile App Takeaways

Gen X is different from their younger counterparts, but that doesn’t mean they should be left out of the conversation. While younger generations are more likely to be impressed by visual stimulation and influencers, Gen X is all about the content and how it can serve them. This can be great news for marketers or developers who have been worried about pulling out all of the bells and whistles to reach their audience. But at the end of the day, Gen X offers an important reminder for everyone no matter who their audience is – any marketing campaign is only as strong as the value of the app behind it. With the proper market research, optimization strategy, and marketing team in place, your mobile app is more likely to succeed with any audience you target.

—by Bree Ogaldez
SEM Nexus is an award-winning startup app agency focused on building and marketing mobile apps for startups. We live, breathe and dream startups. They are our life, our passion. Let us help you make your dream into a reality.

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