In order to ensure business longevity, it benefits companies to consider the emerging consumer behaviours, preferences, habits and trends of contemporary youth as part of their ongoing market research. While most brands are still getting to grips with marketing to Generation Z, the forward-thinking have also turned their attention to Generation Alpha.
While the eldest members of Gen Alpha are only just reaching their teenage years, they are already beginning to manifest behaviours that indicate towards the kind of consumers they will be. Here, we’ll look at why your small business or enterprise business should start thinking about Gen Alpha marketing and how you can tailor your offering to appeal to the next market.
Who are Generation Alpha?
Generation Alpha are people born in or after 2010. At the time of writing, they are young people of age 13 and under. This unique generation may not have the buying power of Gen Z at present, but they will soon command enormous spending power.
What’s the difference between Gen Z and Gen Alpha?
The term ‘digital native’ has been applied to Gen Z before them, but Generation Alpha are the first generation for whom digital technology has been a mainstay since the moment they first opened their eyes. As such, they are even more focused on visually-led digital experiences than their Gen Z counterparts.
Having spent some of their most formative years during the pandemic (this generation is also referred to as ‘Gen-C’ for COVID), a great deal of their lives so far have been shaped by digital experiences and interactions.
Why Gen Alpha matter to your business
Reports state that by 2025 Gen Alpha will number a staggering 2 billion people across the globe, making them the biggest generation in human history. They have the potential to be of the greatest buying power of any generation yet by virtue of sheer numbers.
What’s more, they already command surprising buying power through their parents, providing clues to future consumer trends when this generation reaches adulthood.
4 Important things brands should know about Generation Alpha
Gen alpha will soon become a consumer force to be reckoned with, and one that brands will need to know how to communicate with in order to thrive in the future. This is much easier when companies carry out a little Gen Alpha research. While their age may be barely in double digits, these youngsters have already assimilated a huge amount of information due to having internet access at their fingertips from the moment they could process language. Their heightened awareness of the world around them has made them, in many ways, savvier consumers of media content and products that have come before.
However, their reliance on digital devices and platforms makes them slightly different to other generations in their behaviours and preferences. Here are four things that brands should know about Generation Alpha.
Online interactions come naturally to Gen Alpha
Interacting with others through digital platforms is as natural to Gen Alpha as making a telephone call is for baby boomers. Proximity to digital technology is partially responsible for this, as is the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on their education and social interactions in recent years.
They are extremely socially conscious
Much like Gen Z, Gen Alpha are highly aware of social issues due to their exposure to social media and user-generated video content from a young age. As they get closer to adulthood, they will be acutely aware of the environmental, social and political issues that they will inherit from previous generations.
They are surprisingly autonomous consumers
They may not be spending their own money yet, but a recent study shows that Gen Alpha are already influential consumers, with 70% of parents saying that they make retail purchases based on their children’s favourite media or characters, and 40% of parents saying that they make such purchases regularly.
They are culturally omnivorous
Like the generations before them, Gen Alpha kids are extremely trend-savvy. But while millennial may have focused on trends like Power Rangers lunch boxes or Ninja Turtles action figures in their younger years, Generation Alpha follows a broader range of trends from Fortnite streamers to Tik Tok dances. Growing up in an age where professional content and user-generated content are available on-demand, their influences and inspirations are both eclectic and ever-changing.
Marketing to Generation Alpha
Gen Alpha’s media consumption and nascent consumer priorities and habits are similar to those of Gen Z. However, this does not mean that businesses will gain the same traction in their marketing efforts unless their messaging appeals to their sensibilities.
Approach them in their digital comfort zone
Gen Alpha are at their most comfortable when online. Indeed, a report by GWI in the US states that many in this generation favour video games and social media over after-school and sporting clubs in the real world.
Gen Alpha are not necessarily lacking in social skills. However, online social interactions are considered the norm for many. Therefore, digital spaces may be the ideal venue to approach this generation and earn their trust. Robust social campaigns including influencer marketing can help brands get noticed by these younger consumers.
Push your ethical commitments to the forefront
Generation Alpha have inherited a world of climate crises, a global pandemic, widening wealth inequality, and a rise of AI and automation that may curtail their future career options. As such, they may have a more vested interest in social, ethical and ecological justice than previous generations. If brands want to earn the trust of this generation, they will need to make their commitment to ethical and sustainable operations, supply chain and distribution channels part of their messaging.
Think beyond print
Brands may doubt the efficacy of print marketing to this generation due to the popularity of the digital world. Instead, marketing authority Neil Patel suggests that video, podcasting and gamification are all useful ways to engage with Gen Alpha.
Focus on authenticity
Gen Alpha have spent their entire lives with access to an extraordinarily vast dataset. They have the research skills to discover everything they need to know about a brand before committing to a purchase, and they value authenticity and actions that align with their values.
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