It can be easy to underestimate Generation Alpha and the power they already yield as a generation. While they are children today, the oldest of them will be entering high school in the coming years. Once they have all finished being born, they will be the largest generation to date. Before we know it, they will be entering the workforce and earning an income with spending power to match.
It is self-evident that every brand, product or company is just one generation away from irrelevancy. Yet such is the demographic size and economic influence of Generation Alpha, any organisation that fails to understand and engage with this global generation will edge towards extinction.
Generation Alpha are growing up as super-informed and constantly connected consumers. This means that their attitudes and consumption behaviour is different to generations past and is constantly evolving. They are tech-driven consumers, influenced by entertainment media, social media and their peers. The platforms they have grown up using – like TikTok, Minecraft and Roblox – have defined them as active co-creators rather than passive consumers. As they grow up, they will increasingly integrate technology into their consumer behaviour and it will influence how they shop and interact with brands. The online store of the future will be personal and more easily accessible to them than ever before. As empowered consumers, products, advertising and marketing will best reach them when it involves them and meets their expectations, aspirations and values.
Generation Alpha are using video games from a young age and it impacts their mindset in terms of being active participants to solutions. Future brands and marketing companies will be looking to integrate the real world with the virtual world for this generation, integrating marketing and placement of products into the Metaverse in different ways.
How marketing has evolved
The generations before Alpha have been ‘marketed’ to so frequently and from so many different angles that there’s a savviness to them, which will be emulated by Generation Alpha. This new generation will, in general, make decisions based on peer recommendations, social media influencers and their personal values. As they grow up they will also be looking to companies’ social responsibility, because they want the companies they interact with to ‘do the right thing’. A company that has eco-friendly credentials can help increase consumer trust by showing they are environmentally and socially responsible.
The biggest mistake brands can make related to serving this generation
One of the biggest mistakes organisations can make is to assume Generation Alpha are the same as generations past. While they are the youngest generation today, Generation Alpha have brand influence and purchasing power beyond their years. They shape the social media landscape, are the popular culture influencers, the emerging consumers and by the end of the 2020’s will be moving into adulthood, the workforce and household formation. They are the first generation fully born in the 21st Century and have been shaped in different times to previous generations. Which means we need new and fresh approaches to engaging with them.
To stay relevant in our global world, marketers, manufacturers and service providers need to maintain open ears to Generation Alpha and design products and services that will be useful for these future consumers. On top of that, businesses today need to learn to effectively communicate with Generation Alpha. How? By connecting with them to find out their wants and needs, and what challenges they face. If businesses fail to understand the world’s largest generation of consumers, they will edge towards irrelevancy.