Host: On today’s episode of “Keeping It Real,” Cam Marston tells us about the decline in household purchasing power of the Generation X male.
Cam: My researcher Gerald sent some data that confirmed a growing hunch, which is this: the Generation X male, who is roughly between their early 40s to mid 50s, is growing less and less relevant in the marketplace. And Gerald’s data showed exactly that. We, and I’m one of these Gen-X males, are losing household purchasing power. We actually may have never had it.
Who has it? The Gen-X female. She’s in control. She’s the boss of all of us. She’s the queen of the world. And we all, and I mean all of us, work for her. And I’m not sure what changed things. When baby boomer couples were presented with decisions to make, he was likely the bottom line. He had the final word. If he was smart, he listened to his wife’s opinions and preferences. But in the end, it was 51% his decision.
Today, with Gen X, that’s changed. The pendulum has soared the other way. The Gen-X male may spend lots of time creating an Excel spreadsheet to illustrate which product or service is the best value, the most efficient, the longest lasting, whatever. He’s done a ton of research. And then he submits the research to her, the Gen-X female, and he points out the one he likes, and he essentially asks permission to buy. I see it regularly.
Or when they’re together in front of a salesperson, he asks all sorts of hard questions, acting like he knows what he’s talking about. He’s trying to test the salesperson or prove to the salesperson he can’t be tricked. He’s essentially making what I call man noises.
But once that salesperson is out of sight and the couple are alone, the Gen-X male will look at his wife and say, “Honey, what’d you think?” And her answer determines if the purchase will be made. If she says, “I like it,” he’ll say, “Me too.” If she says, “No, I didn’t think it was right for us,” he’ll say, “No, I didn’t either.”
And it doesn’t matter who the primary breadwinner is, that’s not relevant at all. The Gen-X male is essentially a decoy. And the most savvy Gen-X females don’t let him know it. Gen-X males are marionettes on strings, and there’s one string that goes straight into our brains. Gen-X females are not 51% of the decision-making, they’re well beyond that. Maybe 65 or 70 percent.
Now, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the Gen-X female dominates in how much time she spends each days in these categories that I asked Gerald about. The first: purchasing good and services, and the second: household financial management. The oldest Gen-X females dominate in financial services and banking, and these are the areas my clients were most interested in and my hunch is proving to be right.
Now, right now there are plenty of Gen-X males rolling their eyes saying, “This isn’t true in my household.” You just keep thinking that, pal. You’re well-trained, but you now have an answer for that string coming out of the back of your head.
I’m Cam Marston. Just trying to keep it real.
Host: To hear more of Cam Marston’s commentaries, search for “Keeping It Real” on your favorite podcast app or find them on Facebook.