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Brief Published: 13 Nov 2017

JWT’s The New Adulthood: Understanding Xennials

New Adults only see themselves represented in ads less than half of the time

An in-between generation of consumers called New Adults – or Xennials – are growing up, settling down, and subverting the status quo, according to an October 2017 report presented by global advertising agency JWT.

The New Adulthood report explores the motivations and values of this tribe of consumers, who straddle the millennial and Gen X generations and are between 30 and 45 years old. The research includes analysis of views from a survey of 1,755 consumers in the US and 1,768 in the UK. Key highlights include:

  • Feeling Misunderstood: Xennials don't identify with traits associated with either Gen Xers or millennials. In fact, three-quarters of New Adults think that the stereotypes attributed to their generation don't reflect them. Some 72% of these consumers in the UK agree that there isn't a name that reflects their generation adequately. 
  • Working for Themselves: This cohort is keen to earn a living on their own terms, with 59% of New Adults in the US and 40% in the UK aspiring to be entrepreneurs. The rise of tech that allows for self-employment is helping them with this desire and 64% in the US consider themselves to be digital natives. 
  • Advertising Fail: New Adults don't recognise themselves among people most often featured in brand campaigns. They only identify with similar characters or see themselves represented in ads less than half of the time.

For more on these savvy, sceptical and self-reliant consumers, as well as strategies focusing on how best to tap into this influential group, see Gen X: Midults Move Up.