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Generation X ups its media consumption game

Trends show Gen X’s digital media behaviors mirror those of Gen Z and millennials

Whether it’s ownership of smart devices, subscriptions to streaming services, or mobile consumption, the digital media behaviors of Gen X¹ are matching—and in some cases even surpassing—those of their younger counterparts. Apparently, the “music video” generation has slowly but steadily moved toward “mobile video."

July 17, 2019

Source: Analysis based on data from Deloitte’s “Digital Media Trends Survey, 13th Edition, 2019.

Disruption is not new to Gen Xers. They were the first generation to experience the emergence of music videos and the advent of 24-hour music television.2 They also were relatively early in their careers when smartphones entered the workplace. As smartphones got smarter and both business and personal applications multiplied, those devices were already in their hands.

It took Gen X some time to come to terms with small-screen viewing, particularly mobile video. However, Gen X has steadily increased its consumption of long-form content (TV shows and movies) on mobile phones (see chart). Deloitte’s “Digital Media Trends Survey, 13th Edition” found that the average time US Gen Xers spend watching TV content on their smartphones grew fivefold from 2013 to 2018.3 Gen X’s increased consumption of long-form mobile content contrasts sharply with the mobile video viewing behavior of boomers and matures.4 In fact, the mobile video consumption gap between Gen X and the older generations has widened over the last five years5 (see chart).

The digitally savvy behavior of Gen Xers is evident in other entertainment segments such as streaming and gaming. In 2017, 64 percent of Gen X households had a streaming subscription; that number grew to 77 percent in 2018. Each week, about 60 percent of Gen Xers stream movies.6 Gen X also shows dramatically increased consumption behavior in gaming, particularly on smartphones. Close to half of Gen X respondents report that they play video games at least once a week, and a third subscribe to a gaming subscription.7

Generation X’s emergence as avid consumers of mobile video presents new-age media and entertainment companies with an attractive opportunity. According to a recent Deloitte report, net wealth in the United States will grow to $120 trillion by 2030. Compared with other age groups, Generation X will experience the greatest increase in share of national wealth through this period.8 This means Gen X now blends digital savviness with relatively high levels of disposable income—a dream scenario for providers of media and entertainment solutions.

This charticle authored by Shashank Srivastava.

Endnotes

In Deloitte’s “Digital Media Trends Survey, 13th Edition,” Gen X applies to US consumers of ages 36–52. Gen Z covers US consumers of ages 14–21, while millennials are US consumers of ages 22–35.
Allie Johnson, Extra Mile, “Six Fun Ways Gen X Shaped Our World Today,” July 4, 2016.
Digital Media Trends Survey, 13th Edition,” Deloitte, March 2019.
For the purpose of Deloitte’s study, boomers are US consumers of ages 53–71. Matures are US consumers age 72 and older.
Digital Media Trends Survey, 13th Edition,” Deloitte, March 2019.
Ibid.
Ibid.
Val Srinivas and Urval Goradia, “The Future of Wealth in the United States: Mapping Trends in Generational Wealth,” Deloitte Insights, November 9, 2015.

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