Tiny "Gen X" earns and spends more than Millennials, but you wouldn't know it from earnings calls.
In fact, companies do not seem to pay much attention to Gen X at all, according to a CNBC analysis of 17,776 earnings transcripts from FactSet. (Gen X is considered to be between the ages of 35 and 50.)
Companies mentioned the generation with the phrase "Gen X" or "Generation X" only 16 times in the past year on earnings calls. That is a little more than one time per month, with many of the small set of shout-outs occurring on calls with restaurants like Wendy's, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Darden Restaurants and Del Frisco's.
For Del Frisco's Grille, Gen X continues to be a "sweet spot," said CEO Mark Mednansky in an April call with analysts. Many in the restaurant business ignore the group, Mednansky said, adding "people are after the baby boomers who have more disposable income or they're really trying to attract the Millennials."
The hot generation in calls? That would be Millennials, or those aged 18 to 34 years old, the biggest one since the boomers.
"Millennials," "Gen Y," "Generation Y" and "young adults" popped up roughly 620 times, making them the generation of choice for discussion about corporate strategy and results.
The Boomer generation (those 51 to 69 years old) followed behind Millennials with around 180 total mentions of "boomer" "baby boom" or "boomers."
Even Gen Z members, many of whom count allowance as their main source of income, were mentioned more often than Gen X.
The phrases "teenager," "Gen Z" "teenagers", "pre-teen," "tween" and "teenage" pop up about 100 times collectively. (Curiously, there were also a surprisingly large number of mentions of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.)
The silent generation were aptly named in transcripts. No company mentioned this set, aged 70 to 87, by name.
"Millennials are just now starting to hit the life cycle where they have more discretionary spend and influence over the household and how they're spending," said Christine Barton, a partner at The Boston Consulting Group, in a phone interview.
Part of the reason companies do not talk about Gen X as much is they believe they have the demographic figured out, Barton said. (Tweet This)
"Whether rightly or wrongly, I think companies think they know how to participate with Gen X but are very perplexed with how to participate with Gen Y," she said.
Because companies want to build brand loyalty with Millennials while they're young, they tend to place great emphasis on marketing to them, said Bob Shullman, founder and CEO of consultant and research firm The Shullman Research Center.
But Shullman says the hyper Millennial focus tends to overlook Gen X, who possess outsize spending power.
"There is a lot of ignorance about the generations in the U.S. and the spending patterns," Shullman said. "People don't spend the time to get under the hood of the engine."