Xennials are those who are between Generation X and Millennials, who are currently in their mid-30s. Mark Zuckerberg can perhaps be classified as a xennial, and he has gone on to become one of the biggest influencers on the planet. Xennials who realize that they straddle the transition between pre-modern technology and the technological revolution have the potential to become some of the biggest influencers of future generations and the way we progress as a civilization. But why is that, and why have Xennials not been an identified demographic until recently?
What are Xennials?
Xennial is a fairly recently coined term to describe a generation of people who feel as though they don’t belong to either Generation X (late 1960s to early 1980s), or Millennials (mid-1980s to early 2000s) – or, in fact, that they relate to both. These are the people who were born between the two well-known groups, around the years of the late 1970s to early 1980s. The word has been used to describe this group since 2014 when it was used by Sarah Stankorb and Jed Oelbaum in an article for GOOD Magazine. The authors described a bridge between the disaffection of Generation X and the optimism of Millennials. Since then, it has gained traction as more people have begun to identify with the term, and more marketers have realized that it’s a target group they haven’t necessarily been addressing.
Unlike Millennials, who have always known the internet and modern technology, or at least had a significant part of their childhood coincide with the rise of such developments, Xennials remember a time before this when things were different. During their lives, they have witnessed a move from the real world to the virtual world. They remember the times before social networking and online gaming and still feel a sense of nostalgia for those years. For that reason, Xennials are believed to be attracted to brands and businesses which bridge the gap between these two outlooks on life in a similar way.
How do brands address the need to combine real and virtual experiences?
Xennials could become classed as influencers for future generations because they’re a ‘lost’ demographic, unidentified until recently in terms of their wants and needs. However, experiences that appeal to both Gen Xers and Millennials can also appeal to Xennials. Targeting the latter crowd means that you’re effectively keeping in mind a wider demographic than when you’re targeting Millennials or Generation X members.
This is necessary because if there was too much focus on virtual experiences, Baby Boomers and Gen Xers are left out of the loop. Xennials have the insight required to suggest what things could be successfully revamped or reimagined in the modern age. This is why people like Zuckerberg are so successful and influential, as they can address the needs of multiple generations.
Xennials are a huge demographic and are currently in the early years of their working careers. Because they were the last to see the world before the technological revolution, they still enjoy experiences that existed in those times. According to Timeline, there are 25 million Xennials in the US alone, representing 10.6% of the entire population of the country.
For this reason, brands need to work to combine real and virtual experiences. This has been apparent with a number of things to date, even if those responsible for these products or campaigns were unaware of the existence of these in-betweeners.
Facebook began as a social networking site which mainly focused on allowing people to send messages and comments to each other, but the creators soon realized the need to incorporate real-world elements. Hence the advent of Facebook Live, which allows users to live stream and watch friends’ videos in real-time. iGaming operators have also seen how imperative it is to bring elements of pre-online gaming, in the form of casinos, to the online world. For example, Betway Casino has a number of live dealers for games like blackjack and roulette which stream on live video in order to combine the virtual and the real-life experience.
Live music festivals are still hugely popular in the modern age, but another way to enjoy them now is through streaming to a virtual reality device so you feel as though you are actually at the concert. Companies like Noys VR are at the forefront of Xennial appeal. With virtual reality on the rise, experiences like this look set to be a popular way of viewing in the future.
Xennials are perhaps one of the luckiest generations because they have been able to witness the advent of the internet and modern technology, but are also young enough to already be masters of it. They can draw upon their pre and post-internet experiences, fueled by their fond memories of the past, to help shape the future. Because of this, they could end up being the greatest influencers of all, with the benefit of being ‘flexible’ in this way, despite being mistakenly considered as being out of the loop.