Our current generation of children, Generation Alpha (born since 2010), are the most materially endowed and empowered generation ever. They have been shaped in an era of individualisation and customisation where they can get their name printed into the storyline of books, embroidered onto their shirts or put on the jar of Nutella. Below, we share some insights into the consumerism trends of the emerging Generation Alpha.

Is the future of successful brands just tech-enabled toys?

Parents are increasingly aware of the negative consequences of too much technology time – the isolationism and anti-social impacts. However, there is a halo-effect for tech-toys which increase connectivity, facilitate community and develop social and global skills.

What kind of ‘play’ is most useful for brands to deploy now, in the digital age?

Parents are becoming aware of the life-skills deficit evident amongst the next generation. They are more formally educated, yet less proficient in practical skills, assessing (and when appropriate confidently approaching) risk, setting and achieving goals (whether sporting or otherwise), and developing hands-on competencies. Fun toys which develop specific skills such as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths), social competencies, entrepreneurial skills, strength and coordination, financial literacy, innovation and resourcefulness will be favoured by parents and educators.

What are the drivers that are impacting how toy brands engage with their consumers?

Educational toys – the future of toys is not just in the home but the classroom and the childcare centre. Education is beginning earlier with 3 and 4 year olds spending more time in childcare- and in facilities that have a focus on education and development. Therefore toys, of educational benefit are an essential part of the focus.
Free toys – another change we are seeing is that sponsored educational materials – once anathema to educational institutions, are becoming more acceptable as the barriers between education, business, and community blur. With education (and household) budgets under strain, corporations for altruistic and well as commercial motives, will increasingly be part of the education, community and child-rearing domains- with branded toys a means by which this support is delivered.