Have you ever heard of generation Alpha?
By 2025, gen Alpha will represent more than 2 billion children worldwide. It is announced as the largest generation in history, in terms of the number of individuals, but also in terms of the level of education according to UNESCO. By 2030, they will represent 34% of the world’s working population. These children will grow up surrounded by new digital technologies.
Eminence invites you to discover the children, our consumers of tomorrow, and find out the best ways to adapt your marketing strategy in order to target them.
Generation Alpha: Who are they?
Born between 2010 and 2024, the first children of Generation Alpha, today’s pre-teens/teens, will turn 18 in 2028. They are the children of Generation Y (the Millenials) and constitute the fifth generation since World War II.
Pure coincidence? 2010 also marks the year of the launch of Instagram, the release of the iPad and the arrival in our language of the term “app”.
Thanks to the easy access to e-learning, such as tutorials and all the resources available on the web, the Alpha generation will be more autonomous and will have good means to train in all kinds of fields, when they want and from where they want. According to sociologist Rémy Oudghiri, “They will have a different relationship to knowledge and will probably be more utilitarian and opportunistic.
Moreover, the focus will no longer be on degrees and diplomas, but on skills.
Growing up around screens, Alpha children are increasingly dependent on their mobile devices. 32% of parents think their kids would rather have a tablet or smartphone than toys (11%), pets (9%) and even vacations (12%). (Source Hotwire Agency, 2018)
Where does the term “Generation Alpha” come from?
While we used the Latin alphabet for the previous generations (X, Y, Z), Mark McCrindle, founder of the Australian institute McCrindle Research, initiated the switch to the Greek alphabet.
Generations will become shorter and shorter and will be defined by technological and digital evolutions, and no longer by historical or social events.
Characteristics of Generation Alpha
According to a study by the French agency Heaven, 89% of under-13s own their own smartphone and 87% admit to using at least one social application on a regular basis. They now spend an average of 2 hours a day on their mobile.
AI (Artificial Intelligence) and robotization will be at the heart of their daily lives, as the Alpha generation will be required to interact with robots as well as humans.
As for the Metaverse, 71% of Alphas do not know what it means and 16% believe that “it is useless”. The subject is still abstract for them.
On the positive side, this generation will be experts in new technologies and will be able to easily adapt to new features or upcoming innovations in the digital world. Moreover, the attraction for videos and video games improves their visual skills, but also the coordination between eyes-brain-hand and the ease to quickly change activity. According to the Hotwire agency, “43% of French parents believe that new technologies help their children think faster”.
On the flip side: instead of spending their time playing in real life, children no longer foster their imagination and therefore their creativity. This affects their ability to keep themselves busy, not get bored without a screen and even socialize with others. Moreover, many children are permanently connected and can develop a strong addiction to their mobile, just like some adults.
A volatile, impatient and eternally dissatisfied generation
Generation Alpha kids are curious, adaptable and like to test everything. They have quick access to information and consumption that allows them to learn about everything at any time. While having the desire to be part of their own community, they grow up wanting to be different from others, to experiment and will not hesitate to make their life evolve according to their desires.
The positive point: a generation that will not be afraid to express itself, to claim its choices, with heterogeneous tastes and evolving lifestyles that they will obviously share on the networks!
The flip side is that the permanent use of the smartphone prevents the blossoming and the “achievement of happiness”. By wanting everything, right away and everywhere, Alphas have become impatient and risk becoming eternally dissatisfied. According to psychologist Jean M. Twenge, in her book iGen, there is a “link between the rise of smartphones and social networks and the increase in depression, anxiety and feelings of loneliness among today’s youth.
The spirit of community… virtual
The under-13s use 2.9 platforms on average every day. They do not hesitate to create content as well rather than just consume it. The community they create for themselves becomes their refuge, their trust zone, in a fast-changing world.
The good news is that 49% of them spend their time online with their friends, thanks to chat applications (Whatsapp, Messenger) or SMS for 38%. Then come online video games (35%), social networks (30%), phone calls (20%) and video calls (15%).
The flip side is that the time spent connected on their mobile is at the expense of other activities that are fundamental to their psychological development: learning, reading, playing, and face-to-face exchanges. From now on, most of the interactions take place in the virtual world.
A vast field of possibilities: the world belongs to them!
The world is evolving in parallel with Alphas on all levels:
- On a social level: better pay equity, social tolerance and open-mindedness, level of education, telecommuting .
- On the environmental level: awareness of the importance of sustainable development and of one’s ecological footprint.
- At consumer level: buying according to our values, development of local short circuits and second hand, e-commerce.
- On an economic level: regular crises, dematerialization of payment methods, cryptomoney, rise of start-ups and freelancers.
On a political level: new and persistent conflicts, legislation…
From now on, new perspectives are opening up for this youth who will grow up immersed in global issues, while having the desire to follow a path that corresponds to them. The McCrindle institute speaks of a generation that will be more digital, social, global, mobile and visual than previous generations.
What strategy should be put in place to reach Generation Alpha?
The financial stakes are high. We must no longer think of Alphas as just the consumers of tomorrow, but as the consumers of today. For example, it is estimated that under-12s influence their parents’ purchases to the tune of $130 to $670 billion per year in the United States!
A) The importance of emotion and personalization
Gen Alpha is receptive to messages that speak to them and evoke emotions. Although they are used to robots and the virtual, they will appreciate even more entering into a personalized relationship, taking into account their individual needs and expectations. More than ever, they want brands to provide a solution and show empathy.
Among the preferred themes, video games are at the top of the list, followed by comedy (43%), TV shows (33%), then soccer (29%) and music (28%), as well as fashion (25%) cinema (21%). Ecology interests only 10% of young people.
Talk to them about what interests them and how to grasp their attention and make them receptive to your messages. By creating an emotional bond, Alphas will be more inclined to buy, to be loyal and to recommend you to their community.
B) What media to use to reach Generation Alpha?
To reach the Alpha generation, we advise you to favor the following media:
The video format: this is THE medium to use since Alphas are visual and tend to scan information. Their attention span and concentration time is shorter than that of our generation. It is therefore no coincidence that YouTube is the most used application for nearly 6 out of 10 children under 13 years old. This platform even starts to be visited by children as young as 3-4 years old. This implies to turn to media like podcasts, video content or gamification to address them.
Influencers: currently, 44% of millennials are more inclined to trust “experts”, even if they don’t know them and seem to be 2.5 times more influenced by blogs or social networks. (Source: Hibspot). This trend will only get stronger with generation Z and the Alphas. The latter attach importance to the opinions of their friends in their purchasing decisions (28%), followed by influencers and bloggers (25%) and in third place, the opinions of their family (21%).
Google digital tools: Voice Search, Google Lens, Google Discover, Google Alexa, Siri… all means that have recently been developed and on which companies must focus in order to appear in all types of searches that young Internet users can perform. The content of the pages must be written and illustrated respecting the fundamental rules of SEO. Betting on augmented reality is also a good option to offer them an immersive experience in their purchases.
Product placement: this is a good way to show your products in a non-aggressive way and in a playful context, like in the online game Fortnite, in the Metaverse or in series.
Social networks: leave Facebook or Twitter, generation Alpha (just like generation Z) is already active on Snapchat (54.5%), TikTok (44.2%) and Instagram (23.6%). They want lives, stories and to switch easily. (Source: Heaven agency, 2022). Note that 49% of generation Z turns to social networks for inspiration for their next purchases, while they are only 20% among generation Y.
Nevertheless, brands must be reasonable in their communication frequency to avoid tiring out Alphas. Indeed, 48% complain about the abundance of advertising on their favorite platforms, compared to 34% only 2 years ago.
C) The impact of children on their parents’ purchasing decisions
Would you have imagined that 87% of children influence their parents in their purchasing decisions in the United States? The graph below shows that in the Top 3, children are the first to influence the choice of games and toys, then clothing and shoes, and finally food.
The other sectors are not left out, whether it is for travel, outings and even electronics. In this last sector, parents are more and more careful about what their children could do with the equipment. This is the case, for example, for 6 out of 10 parents in France. According to the Hotwire survey in 8 countries, 24% of adults have even asked their children’s opinion before making a purchase!
Given this data, which targets or personas should brands focus on: adults or children? The answer is simple: both… but it is more complex to concretize at the marketing level.
We can no longer speak of a single customer journey, but of a “dual” customer journey, as illustrated by the Merkle report of 2022.
Companies selling services and goods that can be used by the whole family must therefore strive to offer :
- a pleasant and attractive design for children and parents,
- functionalities adapted to children and adults.
- a reassuring, transparent, personalized and rewarding message,
- playful supports such as video, visuals, gamification, augmented reality, etc.
- marketing adapted to be visible to the young public: presence in online video games like Fortnite, use of influencers on social networks, etc.
D) Where will they prefer to shop?
We find that Alpha kids plan to shop from their mobile device first (21%), rather than going to a store (19%).
Since parents involve their children in their purchases, they will favor brands that consider the presence of children in the shopping process :
- a fun in-store experience where children feel at home
- a better adapted website: design, navigation, ergonomics
Children as young as 8 years old are able to visit e-commerce sites… Brands must take this important point into consideration by associating it to the Customer Journey of their personas, illustrated above.
E)What tone to adopt in your inbound marketing strategy?
According to Hubspot, 84% of millennials do not trust traditional advertising (radio, press, direct marketing, etc.). This observation will only get stronger with the following generations. Being better and better informed, Alphas will not be credulous when faced with brand speeches.
Alphas want transparency, recommendation, but above all a good reason to buy a product or service: why your brand and not another? They are no longer buying just a product, but the perceived value of the product and what this product will make them look like to others. They will also be sensitive to the values conveyed by the company, such as environmental causes and animal protection.
Warning: this generation will be more educated, aware and demanding of their privacy. This means that they will no longer systematically accept cookies to better protect personal data. What will be the impact for companies? They will have to give something in exchange if they want to collect data for a fair commercial relationship: rewards, offers, information, etc.
The children of generation Alpha will be “phygital” consumers, with one foot in the real and one foot in the virtual. Through this article, we realize that they are already well anchored in new technologies and social networks, while needing to be surrounded by their community and advised in their purchases.
The challenge for brands will be to connect with Alphas, without appearing intrusive, while offering them an experience. This generation will be particularly sensitive to the values transmitted by brands and will be able to identify with them.
Faced with these children who are already involved in their parents’ purchasing decisions, Eminence can assist you in your digital marketing strategy and in designing websites that meet the expectations of parents and their children.