The youngest members of generation X are just over 40, but don’t call them middle-aged—midlife crisis is the last thing on their minds. Older millennials are more than 30, and adults in every sense—so why are marketers still lumping them in with 18-year-olds just out of high school?

The New Adulthood, the newest report from the Innovation Group, reveals a new cohort shaping the face of adulthood: The New Adults. Previously called Xennials, Midults and more, New Adults represent a group of 30 to 45-year-olds with more in common with each other than with any other generational label. The New Adulthood shines a spotlight on the world’s 30 and 40 somethings, delving deep into their motivations, values, how the financial crisis affected them, and their tech usage to identify how best for brands to communicate with this demanding but increasingly influential tribe.

Brand Futures WEB Mercedes Benz Grow Up Campaign
Mercedez Benz Grow Up campaign

What will adulthood look like in 2020? New Adults are upending all of its traditional markers, creating new career paths, marrying later if at all, and foregoing a mortgage to travel the world. While they spent the last decade on the rollercoaster started by the financial crisis, New Adults are now pushing back against the status quo to find a new path to the stability they crave. They are entrepreneurial, tech-savvy and financially literate—yet still remain closely looped into culture, and expect brands to do the same.

WEB Travel WEB Delta Dating Wall
Delta dating wall, Brooklyn
Beauty Wellness WEB Rumi eco conscious activewear Hong Kong Breastfeeding Week advertisement
Rumi eco-conscious activewear
Finance WEB Wealth Simples Retirement Ad Across from Supreme flagship
Wealthsimple ad at the Supreme NYC flagship.

The New Adulthood looks at the make-up, attitudes, and behaviors of this influential new consumer tribe. We examine overall attitudes towards branding and marketing, with a deep dive into beauty, travel, parenting, finance, luxury and more, featuring consumer examples and commentary from industry experts. The report also features in-depth case studies of two major groups, the New Types and the Lifestyle Types, which are then broken down into 12 detailed sub-types, including the New Adult Festivalgoer and the Xennial Entrepreneur.

WEB Finance Simple Shared
Online-only bank Simple.
Overview WEB Arket
Arket by H&M

Findings are further backed by an original survey commissioned by SONAR™, J. Walter Thompson’s proprietary research tool. The survey included 1,755 US and 1,768 UK consumers with an emphasis on New Adults, though ages ranged from 20-55. Highlights from the survey include:

  • New Adults see themselves represented in ads less than half the time
  • 75% of New Adults believe that the stereotypes about their generation don’t reflect them
  • New Adults think that “middle age” comes around 43-44
  • 64% of New Adults in the US consider themselves digital natives
  • 59% of New Adults in the US and 40% in the UK aspire to be entrepreneurs
  • New Adults in the UK feel mentally 33, emotionally 35, and physically 40
  • 72% of New Adults in the UK agree that there isn’t a name that reflects their generation
  • 61% of New Adults in the UK agree that people never truly become adults

Download The New Adulthood for more.

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