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Cris Xiong

Published on

July 5, 2022


future spotting, gen alpha

We take a look how brands can target the youngest generation, Gen Alpha.

“Gen Alpha is poised to have the greatest spending power in history, even more so than millennials and baby boomers. While Gen Alpha is sometimes referred to as “mini-millennials,” they will have a very different upbringing from their millennial parents. – Jennifer Mandeville, Marketing Dive

Using insights from our data partner GWI, we learn more about our youngest generation – Gen Alpha, their mindset and behaviour, and how marketing agencies and brands can target them in the future.

#1 The “mom economy” – Gen Alpha’s taste influenced by their millennial parents

Born between 2010 and 2025, Generation Alpha has at least a few more years until its identity comes to fruition. Since Alphas are too young to make purchases for themselves, the products they use arguably say more about their parents than it does for them.

There’s a subset of young, millennial moms who are invested in buying the best products they can afford for their kids. Thus, the next generation of kids are going to have very similar tastes to that of their millennial parents when it comes to brands.

What’s next?

Brands should bear in mind when doing influencer marketing, the target could also be the parents of Gen Alphas. One of the examples is Ryan Kaji of Ryan’s World. The 9-year-old star has one of the most lucrative YouTube channels, but it’s his parents who run the channel and the marketing schema behind it. For now, brands will turn to his parents and parents of similar ages to wean this next generation of consumers.

Brands should also consider the preference of millennials when targeting at Gen Alpha. For example, the food and beverage industry can capitalise on the trends millennial parents are most familiar with as their kids’ snacks are filled with labels such as paleo, keto, probiotic, low carb, etc.

#2 “A Sound Reality” – Voice tech set to dominate

Intelligent devices and high speed data have blurred the boundaries between physical and digital. Growing up through the pandemic, Gen Alphas are more tech-empowered and opinionated than any other generation before them. 60% of parents in APAC say that their Gen Alpha children spend a reasonable amount of time on devices.

In 2022 and beyond, voice interfaces will rival screens. With over half of kids talking to Alexa already, comfort with voice interaction is only going to get stronger.

What’s next?

Popular technologies like AI and natural language processing will continue to modernise voice technology, making it more authentic and relatable to specific audiences.

As Gen Alphas internalise voice, brands are changing the way their products are discovered and experienced. For example, in 2021, Proctor & Gamble made the most of Alphas’ Alexa with a smart-speaker toothbrush tie-in for Kids in Australia, which used songs, jokes and trivia to get kids brush for the right length of time.

#3 Science for sustainability – Perceptions and expectations of Gen Alpha

50% of Gen Alphas in APAC say that Science and Nature are in their top 5 subjects at school. To add to this, science, nature and animal TV shows are among the most popular watched by over 52% of Gen Alphas.

Gen Alpha has grown up following online trends such as local sourcing, and sustainable solutions, making them more knowledgeable and focusing on subjects like global warming and pollution, meaning that there is a good chance that Gen Alpha will prefer to support brands that take social and environmental responsibility.

What’s next?

It is important for brands to show the younger generation on their commitment to sustainability, which is becoming a more critical purchase driver for younger consumers.

For instance, in 2021, Mattel announced the launch of Mattel PlayBack, a toy takeback program that enables families to extend the life of their Mattel toys once they are finished playing with them. It is designed to recover and reuse materials from old Mattel toys for future Mattel products, and supports the company’s recycling goal by 2030.

#4 Social Preference – Looking for entertainment on social media

Gen Alphas primarily go on social media looking for entertainment, and what better place for short form entertainment, than TikTok. Although Instagram still tops the chart as the most popular social platform, TikTok is closing the gap rapidly.

Among 12-15 year olds, 61% use social media to find funny posts and 40% are looking at memes, and while learning new dances isn’t as popular (20%), it is also something Gen Alphas are picking up more than last year.

What’s next?

Gen Alpha will likely place more importance on the creative and audio aspects of campaigns and expect highly relevant content that resonates with them. According to TikTok, close to 7 in 10 users say they remember the brand better if it features a song they like in the video.

Brands should be teaming up with young, authentic influencers that are passionate about what they do to resonate with young audience. This doesn’t have to be expensive to be successful.

#5 Augmented reality – AR to be more utilised in the metaverse

Over 33% of Chinese teens feel that social media shows their real life, and most are exposed to AR for entertainment and social behaviour on a daily basis. Gen Alpha is already accustomed to AR on social platforms like Snapchat, and this technology is becoming more and more popular.

In APAC, 44% of 12-15 year olds say that sharing their opinion and views is most important to them. They like to meet up on social media and gaming environments to feel being engaged. On those platforms, they are keen to create 3D avatars to distinguish themselves from others and form a unique identity, and they are making great efforts to dress up their avatar.

What’s next?

Retail brands may start to think about how to target Gen Alpha by utilising AR in the metaverse. For example, Gucci cooperated with an AR fashion platform Wanna, to release the first virtual sneaker in 2021, which people can try on in photos or videos for social media. Buying them within the Gucci app also unlocks an in-game downloadable version of the trainers that can be worn by users’ avatars on the virtual reality social platform VRChat and online game Roblox.

AR is also finding use in education. Learning technologies are being employed in schools for everything from practicing soft skills to helping ADHD students read in a distraction-free, virtual space. Since the pandemic, new applications have emerged with opportunities for kids to travel and experience unexplored places.

#6 Gaming – Gaming is about creating

Kids’ franchise favourites mirror what they want from games. Kids are coming of age at a time when games like Roblox and Minecraft are well- established platforms, rather than disruptors. These games top Gen Alpha’s leaderboard, as they let players build worlds and go on adventures with others. Opportunities for adventure and building/creating are the main qualities young players look for. Demand for the latter has climbed by 7% since 2021.

Kids clearly relish what these platforms bring to the table: the chance to think critically, learn new skills, and collaborate with others.

What’s next?

For brands, Gen Alpha’s appetite for world-building games has flung open another door for community-based conversation. Compared to other 12-15s, Minecraft users are more likely to describe themselves as creative (+20%), social (+11%), and to say they use online social spaces to interact with brands (+27%). These spaces allow brands to speak to a smaller, more engaged crowd and feed their appetite for self-development.

UEFA, for example, has picked Roblox as the spot for its educational series. Alongside skills challenges, it aims to teach kids about soccer and shine a light on women’s tournaments.

Related content: Future Spotting: 6 Habits of Today’s Silver Generation

Curious about the trends impacting your brand? Get in touch with our data and insights specialists here.

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