Friday, July 11, 2014

The GenXers Can Finally Lay Claim to Trendsetting

Mark Kooyman
4 min readSep 21, 2019

I had the pleasure of having a cup of coffee with a GenXer yesterday.

She told me about the struggle she’s going through. Back “before having the kids” she had a very successful career. She worked in marketing and sales.

But then along came the kids.

Now before readers relate to her frustration because of being female… put a hold on it.

Over the last fifteen or more years, both she and her husband placed top value on raising those kids.

He made sacrifices too. In fact, they ended up moving just to get the kids in better public schools.

And instead of taking a nice “get-away” vacation trips, both she and her husband channelled the dollars instead to refinishing the basement so that they and the kids could have more quality time.

In 2015, the leading edge of GenXers hits the magic moment of turning 50. Yes. 50 years old.

And the trailing edge will turn 39.

You really don’t hear too much hoopla about it.

In fact, outside of kids, kids, kids and kids… you really hear little about Generation X.

Fact is… there’s really not as many of them as there are Boomers and Millennials.

In fact, you add those two population groups together and the GenXers barely represent about a third of the size.

I’ve written blogs about the GenXers in the past. Close to half growing up with divorced parents. Vowing adamantly that they would not get a divorce and instead preserve family values that their parents seemed to ignore.

Sidelight… left-side media has it ingrained in their headsets that “family values” is all driven by a disdain for gay folks when instead, “family values” is largely driven by GenXers and their dedication to avoid following in the foot steps of their parents.

GenXers are not known for being trendsetters and change agents.

However, this past week, there was an article in the Wall Street Journal about a new trend hitting the movie theaters that actually we can all thank the GenXers for driving.

Really. Not making this up.

Before I tell you what the movie theaters are doing, let me share a couple of interesting snippets about the GenXers.

In all the house and home work we do, we have not only gone out on the streets and talked with GenXers — or the family market segment, but we’ve shopped with them, toured their homes, joined the search online and with agents, sat with them and their interior designs and even baby sat the kids while the parents got out their paint brushes to make the bedroom a “teen retreat.”

My one observation is simple. GenXers care more about the time cocooning than they do about the look, feel and style of the cocoon.

GenXers are famous for buying the house with the unfinished basement and carving out space for their “family” media room.

Down here in the ATL, there’s a furniture chain called “Rooms-To-Go.” The retailer caters to GenXers by stocking “functional” furniture at very affordable prices.

Where IKEA might have an edge of style and design. Rooms-To-Go has an edge on durability and function.

While Lay-Z-Boy has sorta been successful in repositioning their furniture line as being more stylish, Rooms-To-Go gave recliners new meaning with their classic GenXer signature piece… the sofa with the built-in food rests, declining back cushions and the built-in beer-can or Pepsi-can holders.

Remember… GenXers are not all professional and white collar. There’s a diverse generational scope that embodies the blue-collar working family too.

Those blue collar GenXers might not have a Rooms-To-Go in their small town, but there were “close-out” says featuring those faux leather theater seat sets being sold off the pack of the moving truck… for sure!

Since the trend of the family media room hit, the Smiths, the Jones, the Kamdars, the Fohfamas, the Perez and the Chengs… all have purchased the large 84” flat screens, Best Buy sound systems and recliner sofas to stock the GenXer version of the family room.

The Wall Street Journal article bears the title: “Coming to a Theater Near You: Recliners”

Yes… recliners.

Gone will be the flip down theater seats. Gone will also be the larger number of seats.

Welcome the Lay-Z-Boy look along with the premium ticket cost that offsets the decline in the number of seats.

AMC Entertainment is leading the charge… By the way, now owned by a China-based Dalian Wanda Group.

The GenXer basement home theaters are soon to premiere in a mall parking lot near you!

The next time you hear a GenXer co-worker, friend, PTA community leader or your GenXer significant other talk about how the Boomers and Millennials are stealing their stage… tell them to go catch the latest movie at the neighborhood AMC Theater.

And you can even add… “… and it will feel just like home.”



Mark Kooyman

CEO & Discovery Chief at EXPERIENCE Insight Group, Inc. In the business to discover and craft brand experiences that humans seek out and engage in.