Generation Alpha, also known as the “tech-savvy children of millennials,” are defined as people born between 2010-2025. Mark McCrindle, a generational researcher, devised the term and identified that 2.8 million Gen Alphas are being born each week into the digital decade populated by gadgets and YouTubers.
Retail giants, like Amazon, have proven that they are capable of setting the benchmark for expectations as they are successfully capturing the youngest generation. A report by Wunderman Thompson Commerce found that 9/10 children aged 10-16 were more likely to have heard of Amazon compared to brands such as Apple or Nike.
Raised on technology, the growing generation of ‘screenagers’ offer a powerful influence for brands with their ethics and values. The same report published statistics that show the large majority of Gen Alphas are already prioritising environmental and ethical job prospects over working within the tech industry like their Gen Z parents.
These values will define brand loyalty for Gen Alphas as 67% of 6-9-year-olds say that saving the planet will be the focus of their career. Greta Thunberg demonstrates these Generation Alpha values during her strikes for the climate. The young climate activist was named Time Person of the Year 2019 and has attracted global media attention for her movement, Fridays for Future (which refers to her weekly strikes in protest of governments lacking climate legislation). Her opinions and speeches have been given at high profile events across the world and have inspired many Gen Alphas to join her by joining strikes of their own.
The introduction of Generation Alpha is forcing brands to adopt a fluent culture of transparency as the younger generation is becoming more environmentally aware and conscious of ethical practices.
While some ambitions -like future jobs- may shift before they come of age, other influencing factors such as evolving purchase behaviours are more immediately relevant.
The media approach
The launch of Apple’s iPad in 2010 has impacted Gen Alphas and resulted in them being as comfortable speaking to a voice assistant or swiping a tablet as well as using traditional pen and paper. While there is a lot of research around younger generations being opposed to prominent TV advertisement, 22% of Alphas are still influenced by them, according to wired. However, with TV in decline, kids are more receptive to a short video accompanying their favourite YouTube stars. Over 100 hours of videos are uploaded to YouTube every minute, creating a huge market for online advertising opportunities.
The marketing approach
Hotwire recently found that 65% of parents say the habits of their children influenced their last technology purchase, including TVs, smartphones and tablets. This makes Gen Alphas a crucial gateway for marketers looking to attract a wider audience. Some brands, like Fitbit, are already perfecting their Alpha strategies. The company recently released the ‘Fitbit Ace’, an activity-monitoring device designed for children. By attracting them early on, brands hope to build loyalty through adulthood as well as entice the entire family to jump on the Fitbit trend. It is evident that Alphas are already impacting brand behaviour and it’s likely they will outsmart their parents, technologically speaking, by the age of eight. Mark McCrindle says, “[they] will be the most formally educated generation ever, the most technology-supplied generation ever, and globally the wealthiest generation ever”. To prepare for future customers, it’s imperative that brands are aware of this evolving generation and understand the expectations of the Gen Alpha customer.