I’m a GenXer living in a Millennial world.
As a product of the neglected middle-child generation, squeezed between the Baby Boomers and the Millennials, I grew up playing outside for hours — no parental supervision required. I cheered the first space shuttle, and mourned when the Challenger exploded five years later. I marveled at the unveiling of the first personal computer, the first cell phone, and the Internet. I witnessed the end of the Cold War, and watched the Berlin Wall crumble.
Population estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau project the Millennial population to peak at 81 million in 2036, compared to a GenX peak of 66 million in 2018. My generation doesn’t compete with the Millennials in numbers, but we have one thing they don’t have yet — buying power.
Liz King, one of Greenhouse Grower’s readers, recently raised this point.
“I’m in the GenX age group, and it seems that my peers have a fair amount of buying power. Their children are growing up or have grown up. They tend to be more interested in yards/homes than younger people, and it seems an ideal group to become more avid gardeners as they settle into more mature tastes,” she says. “A great focus seems to be on the younger generation, but are we overlooking markets that could still yield great rewards?”
It’s a valid question. And yes, I think our industry is overlooking this market in its quest to snag Millennials’ attention. That’s a mistake.
American Express reports that Generation X has more spending power than any other generation, with 29 percent of estimated new worth dollars and 31 percent of total income dollars. And with Baby Boomers for parents and Millennials for children, GenXers have some influence on both generations and their decision-making.
While it’s true Millennials will play a momentous role in the horticulture industry’s future growth and stability, let’s not forget the people who have the power to support it now. It’s not easy to gain loyalty from a GenXer, but once you do, you’ve gained a customer for life.