Ipsos India showcases new thinking on Generations – busting popular myths about Gen Z & Gen X

Are marketers right about their targeting?


Ipsos India showcased new thinking on Generations busting myths about Generation Z and Gen X, providing a true understanding of the two key cohorts, exhorting marketers to fine tune their targeting with precise messaging.  

Generation Z, those born between 1997 to 2012 and Generation X (born between 1965 to 1980) have been the fastest growing cohorts. Ipsos highlighted some of the misconceptions around these two groups of dynamic people.

Ashwini Sirsikar, Group Service Line Leader, UU and Synthesio, Ipsos India said, “We all know that India is a young country, with 65% of its population belonging to Gen Z or Y. What may be news to some of us is that it is actually Gen X which is the faster growing population for India. While much is written, spoken and known about Gen Z, there is very little which is known about Gen X. However, what is common to both segments is the abundance of myths which exist around each of these segments. Our attempt is to bust some of these myths and leave some food for thought for marketers.”

Generation Z

Myth 1 - We all tend to have this stereotypical Gen Z image shaped by the popular media and our own exposure to various western influences. But the reality is different.

Generation Z has regressive views on gender roles. 

Myth 2 - One would expect Gen Z as a cohort to be a happy bunch and someone who would lead a very carefree life where they are able to navigate the complexities of life very easily.

In reality, Gen Z was seen to be largely bored, lonely and frustrated. And constantly under stress.

Myth - GenZ often seen as digital natives are not just social butterflies in the virtual world but also adept at forming meaningful connections in the physical world. 

Not only are they bored and lonely, they are finding it more difficult to make friends after the pandemic. They are comfortable interacting with people online but that itself could be a stressor for them - as it becomes difficult for them to form true human and personal connect in the non-online world.​

They find the thought of talking to strangers difficult and struggle to open conversations. 

Myth: Gen Z is self absorbed, entitled and privileged.

Interestingly, what we see is a heightened sense of awareness about financial responsibilities – they do not feel as secure financially (some of them would have just started working) and also worry the most about being a financial burden on the family.  ​​

To combat this, they often start to earn early and supplement their income through side jobs. 

Gen Z is so different from how it is perceived in money matters. 

From Gen Z To Gen X: Shifting Our Lens to Explore The Next Generation

Generation X

Myth 1: Gen X is often caught between the responsibilities of caring for parents and raising their own families coupled with the pressures of maintaining their careers, mental and physical wellbeing.

Contrary to the popular notion, Gen X-ers actually feel way better physically and mentally when compared to Gen Z.

Myth 2: Significant global events, economic fluctuation have resulted in Gen X being pessimistic.

We know that the Gen X has seen considerable financial fluctuation as well as big global events that have impacted their lives – which leads us to think that they are a naturally pessimistic generation.

However, they are feeling a lot more optimistic about life in general - more well prepared, excited and optimistic and less lonely, bored and frustrated.

Myth 3: Generation X with multiple financial responsibilities find themselves cash strapped and need to dip into savings.  

We already know that as a Generation, they have a huge spending power. ​​

Despite this, it was interesting to note both Gen X and Gen Z feel similarly when it came to buying things they need. However, Gen X-ers also try to keep their life simple as far as possessions are concerned. They in fact believe in leading a simple life. 

While Gen Xers believe in simple living, it does not translate to frugal. They are in fact enthusiastic about making purchases across a very wide range of categories.

These categories span a broad range – these not just include the obvious ones like grocery, financial services, health care etc. but also others like fashion, home décor, consumer durables, personal care, automobiles etc.

Myth 4: Generation X often considered financially pragmatic, is known for saving for very specific goals.  

Interestingly, Gen X was seen to be self-sufficient when it comes to money. They have a savings mindset but were not saving for anything.in particular.

Popular culture Vs reality. Does Gen X’s portrayal match up?

We saw the myths and also busted all of them till now. Let us now look at the portrayal of Gen X in popular culture and see if this representation matches the reality or does it just carry forward the existing stereotypes! 

Gen X is largely a forgotten generation or a sandwiched generation. Every generation has its stereotype — millennials are whiny, Gen Z is weird, and boomers are selfish. Gen X's is that no one remembers them.

41% of them feel that their generation is not at all well-represented in the advertisements today.

Look at some salient TV commercials - Most categories focus on either the youth or the boomers, youth - because everyone runs after them, boomers - as everyone listens when granny speaks. ​

What is clearly evident is that there are very few meaningful portrayals of Gen X or any meaningful relationships shown between Gen X and Gen Z.

Even when Gen X are represented in ads, the depiction is stereotypical and it is in categories like health, insurance etc. - portrayed as the ignorant, tech unsavvy folks, just as provider who need to be educated either by their smarter kids or an expert.​

Also shown as being at logger heads with Gen Z – having extreme and traditional views. And the portrayal of one generation teaching the other.

Gen Xers also feel very under-represented in specific categories like fashion, beauty, durables, automobiles etc. – and unfortunately, these are the very categories that they are looking forward to buying in the very near future. 

A few brave attempts made to unstereotype this generation – but definitely not enough. ​

There is some glimmer of hope when it comes to OTT - Many Gen X centric shows with lead actors in their 50s now coming through. Playing their age, breaking the stereotypes.

Need for more authentic representation of both generations to avoid alienation. 

What will it take to engage them meaningfully and tap into their buying power?

At what age do we cap survey participation?

“The narrative of Generation X is marked by satisfaction, wealth accumulation, and unfortunately, disregard. This rapidly growing, affluent generation is often overlooked, both in terms of dedicated research and representation in studies and targeted marketing - a situation that requires introspection and change,” stated Maitreyi Mangrati, Executive Director and country service line leader, Synthesio, Ipsos India.   

While there are many misperceptions and differences between these 2 generations, one thing on which their views converge is the impact of climate change on the planet and the need to take necessary action. 


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