Luxury Consumption on Different Generation Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials

Baby Boomers

Individuals born after Second World War, mainly between 1946 and 1964 are labelled Baby Boomers (Twenge et al, 2010). In a survey, human resource professionals indicated that they believed Baby Boomers were ‘results driven’, ‘give maximum effort’ (Society of Human Resource Management, 2004). It’s them who built the world and make it look like nowadays.

Generation X

Those born between 1965 and 1981 were known as Generation X (Twenge et al, 2010). Experienced the AIDS epidemic, economic uncertainty, and the fall of the Soviet Union, ‘members of this cohort are purported to be independent and less committed to their employing organization and likely to job hop to increase marketability and to see work-life balance as extremely important (Glass, 2007).


Millennials known as Generation Y is a generation born between 1980s and 2000s. There are no specific boundaries set in stone. Some of the definition having this generation started as early as 1978 or as late as 1985 (Brown, 2017). Despite the born time, Millennials is used to be seen as the continuous generation of Generation X and Baby Boomers. But this is a misconception because this group of people is very different from the previous generations (Brown, 2017).

Luxury Consumption

Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers have been perceived as independent and individualistic with strong interests in self-fulfilment and personal growth (Littrell et al, 2005). As the largest consumer buying group, Baby Boomers have tremendous spending power due to their established careers and job stability.

Baby Boomers are both value and quality conscious, but not necessarily price sensitive. They shop many different channels of distribution-from high-end specialty stores to department stores and mass merchants. As a result of their lifestyles, Baby Boomers seek products that promote wellness, relaxation, and stress-reduction (GCI, 2000).

Generation X

Generation X is one of the most highly educated generations and is technologically and media savvy, but disillusioned, sceptical and pragmatic (Littrell et al, 2005). According to GCI (2000), Generation X seeks independence, flexible work hours, and has a much more realistic view of life, often making them pessimistic. Not like Baby Boomers, Generation X has a different set of priorities and aren’t concerned with status. They seek leadership roles and want to hear the power of their own voices.

According to a study done by Kurt Salmon Associates, Generation X are eager to shop and spend money on luxuries. However, they have other priorities at the moment. Most of them are recently married. Under the pressure of housing, paying bills, raising kids, the retirement of their parents, Generation X is now seeking a better work-life balance (Glass, 2007).


Generation Y, Millennials, is considered high-tech and consumption-oriented. This group of people is seen as the most protected and indulged generation. They are more comfortable with multiculturalism. Social networks are vital to them (Eastman et al, 1999). Under the influence of their parents buying habits, including everything from packaged goods to food, electronics and even the family car, it lead to the consuming behaviour prior to fashion and style (GCI, 2000). They prefer to purchase latest products and are easy to be influenced by advertisement. James (2013) stated that happiness and success were key to Millennials. He said they were seeking meaningful, authentic, unique and purposeful experience which they are willing to pay a high price for.

Some Similarities

Use of Internet

There lies one similarity which is the incredibly wide use of the Internet. Each of these age groups utilize the Internet for business, personal, or academic reasons. What's more, for all of these consumer populations, the Internet is an approach of communicating and purchasing.

Tremendous Increasing of Luxury Market in China

Millennials’ interests in luxury have also been seen outside Europe and the USA. The new global report of World Luxury Association 2010-2011 shows that the major consumers of luxury products in China are becoming younger as the new generation shifts their attitude towards life. The minimum age of China's luxury consumers has dropped to 25 in 2010 from 35 in 2007. It predicts that people aged between 25 and 30 will become the dominant group of consumers for luxury products in China in the next three to five years. (WLA report 2011.)


Brown, G (2017) The Millennials (Generation Y): Segregation, Integration and Racism, The ABNF Journal, pp 5-8.

Eastman, J.K. and Goldsmith, R.E. and Flynn, L.R. (1999) Status Consumption in Consumer Behavior: Scale Development and Validation, Journal of Hospitality Marketing & Management, 18, pp. 406-420.

GCI (2000) Generation Gaps, Global Cosmetic Industry, 166(6), pp 36-42.

Glass, A (2007) Understanding Generational Differences for Competitive Success, Industrial and Commercial Training, 39, pp 98-103.

James, P. (2013) Tap into new wave of ‘Millennial Luxurians’, ILTM Americas, Spetember 30-October 3, 2013, pp. 21.

Littrell, M.A. and Ma, Y.J. and Halepete, J. (2005) Generation X, Baby Boomers, and Swing Marketing Pair Trade Apparel, Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, 9(4), pp. 407-419.

Society of Human Resources Management (2004) SHRM generational differences survey report: A study by the Society for human Resources Management, Alexandria.

Twenge, J.M. and Campbell, S.M. and Hoffman, B.J. and Lance, C.E. (2010) Generational Differences in Work Values: Leisure and Extrinsic Values Increasing, Social and Intrinsic Values Decreasing, Journal of Management, 36(5), pp 1117-1142.

World Luxury Association report (2011) Young consumers dominate China’s luxury market, People’s daily online. Available from [Accessed March 27, 2017]


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