What the heck is a Xennial?

Devlyn Lalonde  July 7, 2017

Xennials

The Xennial [Zen-ee-al]. You might have thought that us stats guys were busy recalibrating our regression models after Brexit and Donald Trump’s audacious electoral win—speaking of which, please consider donating to our crowd funder to aid broken and out-of-work statisticians 2016 has so crassly left washed upon the melancholic shores of societal dejection, they need you now more than ever – ha! You obviously underestimate the industrial statistical complex! So, as the ink dries on your Millennial recruitment plan and your organizational restructuring, tear it up, as now we present to you the Xennial!

Yes, that generation that’s not quite Generation X but not really a Millennial either. How can you spot the difference? Here’s a quick test to find out. Answer the following questions:

  1. Did you actually watch Friends season 1 on the television (not Netflix)?
  2. Did your first Gameboy have colour?
  3. Finish this sentence, “Captain Planet he’s our _____________”
  4. When you hear the letters “ICQ” does a rush of nostalgia and teen angst come over you?

If you answered:

  1. Yes
  2. No
  3. Hero
  4. Yes

You are a Xennial!

But enough of this Buzzfeed generational postulating, let’s get down to the facts.

The concept of Xennial comes from Australian academic Dan Woodman, Associate Professor of Sociology at The University of Melbourne. Xennials are the micro generation born between 1977 and 1983. They are characterized as having the cynicism associated with Generation X as well as the drive and optimism of the Millennial generation. They grew up in an analog world but were young enough to grab hold of the digital revolution and navigate it but are not as comfortable with technology as Millennials are. Woodman remarks, that it was a particularly unique experience. “You [Xennials] have a childhood, youth and adolescence free of having to worry about social media posts and mobile phones. It was a time when we had to organise to catch up with our friends on the weekends using the landline, and actually pick a time and a place and turn up there.” This makes the Xennial generation unique as they do not expect the hand-holding that has come to define the Millennial generation yet they are more than willing to voice their opinion in a team meeting unlike Gen Xers. This could represent an interesting niche in the world of business. As middle managers they can more easily relate to Gen X and Boomer’s analog-isms while being able to communicate with the narcissistic, technophile Millennials.

As of the last Census (2016) there were 3 207 570 Xennials in Canada which represents approximately 9% of the Canadian population. Xennial couples on average make $97 510 as compared to the general Canadian couple at $86 410 (Stats Can: 2016). Xennial singles also perform better than the average Canadian single making $40 570 as compared to $27 690 (Stats Can: 2016). This is a generation that has buying power and inhabits a unique seat in the generational timeline understanding both the old analog world and the fast-paced digital world of the future. Traditional Gen X and Millennial advertising tends not to work on them so advertisers both political and commercial will need to pivot accordingly. Xennials know that they are different thus communications which highlight this would resonate with them.

Oh, and here’s one more piece of nostalgia for you…click here


Want to know more about Canadian Millennials Xennials? Contact us to find out how we can help your organization succeed in the Xennial (and Millennial) Marketplace.

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