Why YouTube is an essential part of Aussie Gen Xers’ lives

Cassandra Lewis, Justine McCullagh / May 2018

New research shows that Aussie Gen Xers turn to YouTube to get things done, engage with their passions, and rediscover their childhood memories. Here’s a closer look at Aussie Gen Xers’ behaviour on YouTube—and what your brand can do to reach this unique audience.

Gen Xers, aged 36 to 54 years old, grew up listening to Walkmans, eating Neapolitan ice cream, and watching shows like Thunderbirds on TV—the only thing that was notably absent was the internet. Despite this, Gen X is embracing the multi-screen, multi-channel world that we know today.

YouTube is a big part of that world for both Gen X and for the rest of Australia. Aussies of all ages are spending more and more time on YouTube, with over 15M Aussie adults spending more than 18 hours each on YouTube per month.

But what exactly are Gen Xers watching on YouTube? We’ve partnered with Flamingo, Ipsos, and TNS1 for the past year, conducting research with over 2,500 Aussies, to better understand the important role the platform plays in their lives. Keep reading to learn more.

Where Aussie Gen Xers learn to get things done

Unlike smartphone-native millennials, Gen Xers have seen technology evolve. They have embraced it and are adept at living in a modern, tech-forward world. As a result, many Aussie Gen Xers are turning to technology as their first port of call to accomplish things that they would’ve previously picked up the phone to outsource.


YouTube plays a key role in enabling Aussie Gen Xers to get things done themselves: 74% of Gen X have watched videos on YouTube to solve an immediate problem, such as assemble an IKEA table or change a cricket bat handle.2

“Even yesterday, I had to change a light globe in my kitchen, so I searched YouTube for ‘how to change a fluorescent light,’” said Cassandra, 54. “These are just very basic, simple things, but it’s so useful. I mean, 20 years ago, we didn’t have that. I would’ve been helpless, so it actually empowers people."3

Where Aussie Gen Xers engage with their passions

Aussie Gen Xers have achieved a lot, and many are at a point of re-evaluation in their lives. As more and more become empty nesters, Aussie Gen Xers are finding themselves with more time on their hands to reconnect with old passions or pick up new skills or hobbies.

“I am definitely having, not a midlife crisis, but more of a midlife exploration and tapping back into what it was that I used to love studying and used to love doing,” said Mandy, 41.3


Whether it’s learning how to act or taking on the challenge of starting a new business, 64% of Gen Xers on YouTube go to the platform to follow a passion of theirs.2 “For me, YouTube’s just kind of like this centrist platform where it doesn’t matter if you’re into beekeeping, puppy training, Russian intelligence, cooking, or what have you,” said Mandy. “It’s a place where you can get information for anyone about anything."3

For example, Dwayne Collins made a prosthetic eye for his daughter after watching a British ocularist give a detailed overview of his process on YouTube.

Where Aussie Gen Xers rediscover their memories

As Gen Xers’ lives change, they experience a fresh desire to engage with their pasts. For all of their efforts to stay abreast of modern culture, Aussie Gen Xers are wistful, and therefore seek out nostalgic content that enables them to remember what was.


YouTube is a time capsule that helps facilitate that nostalgia. “YouTube actually gives you a window to look back,” said Cassandra. “Australia in the ‘70s was much more innocent and laid back—you only have to look at old video clips. It was the era of Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thomson and all of that, that shocking cricket match between Australia and New Zealand, and the underarm bowling. And it’s all on there."3

Among Gen Xers on YouTube, 47% watch videos on YouTube to relive parts of their childhood.2 “I love watching music videos, like all the ‘80s music videos. They're so trashy, cheesy, and gorgeous,” said Mandy. “They remind me of a time when I was free and unencumbered. Music was the best thing on the earth. All I needed to make me happy was a Walkman."3

How marketers can get the attention of their audiences on YouTube

Whether it’s turning to YouTube as an education tool to get things done, as inspiration to follow passions, or as entertainment to reconnect with their past, YouTube plays an increasingly important role in the lives of Gen X, and, in fact, with Aussies overall.

The beauty of YouTube is that advertisers can tailor their approach to reach the specific audience they care about. Whether that's a broad audience like Gen X or a niche audience like "motorbike riders who knit," our advanced audience solutions and unique insights can help you connect with the audience you care about most when they are leaned in on YouTube.

Why YouTube plays an essential role in Aussies’ lives