The study of generations is not an accurate science, and not even consensual. There are divergences in relation to the exact dates that limit each group, because there is a strong influence from one generation to the next, mainly in the transitions. Still, doing this type of analysis can be very useful for brands to understand the trends in their consumers’ behavior and, thus, to draw up the right strategies.
In general, there are Baby Boomers, who are people born between 1946 to 1964 and known for their dedication to work. Then there is Generation X, born until the end of 1970 and who value financial stability and quality of life. From 1980 to 1995, the Y came, also called Millenials, who seek happiness and good experiences. And in the 2000s, Generation Z, famous for its close relationship with technology and activism.
And who is the Alpha Generation?
These are children born since 2010 – and that means they don’t know life without screens and technology. You may be thinking that this situation is not new, after all, Generation Z is also known as “digital native”. It is true! But much of this generation remembers the arrival of the internet in their homes and phones that were not yet smartphones, as they are today.
In Alpha Generation, all this is already causing strangeness: analog devices look like relics and offline life is seen as unimaginable. To give you an idea, in 2010, Apple launched the iPad. For companies, these digital consumers are not yet well known, due to their young age, but they are already impacting the world in several important aspects – and brands need to be aware of what lies ahead!
Some scholars, such as psychologist Roberto Balaguer, a professor at the Catholic University of Uruguay, claim that, because of the strong presence of technology, the Alpha Generation will be less prone to social interactions. Consequently, it will have more difficulties to communicate orally, reduce the quality of parental care and will suffer with more emotional limitations. And all of these can significantly affect their mental health.
The technology can also impact the Alphas’ physical health. Ophthalmological disorders, for example, will be more frequent, since the high amount of light from computer screens and cell phones impairs vision. And this is already happening: in 2019, a 4-year-old child in Thailand needed surgical intervention, in order to not permanently lose his vision, due to the excessive time spent on the tablet and smartphone.
Balaguer also says that the Alpha Generation will have a higher incidence of attention deficit, as the ability to concentrate will be compromised by the various stimuli received online. Other researchers believe that, due to these stimuli, the new generation will have an easier time solving problems and may be smarter and more intelligent.
Therefore, educational institutions need a new format and this are in developing progress in recent years: Education 4.0. In this model, schools will have to invest in technology in order to provide less linear experiences to the Alpha Generation, and always thinking about making a differentiated and increasingly dynamic learning trajectories.
Education at home also tends to change, because parents of this generation are, as a rule, Millennials, who better divide household chores among family members and are more open to dialogue. Thus, the Alphas will grow up with less hierarchy and can become more questioning adults, with more democratic values.
It is too early to say what the children of Alpha Generation will be when they grow up, as some professions just don’t exist yet! That’s because Alphas are going to enter the labor market when robots are probably already taking our jobs. Thus, the Alphas will have to create their new professions. And, for that, they will need to be more flexible and develop their entrepreneurial and creative skills.
But it is already possible to see some niches of work that the Alpha Generation has affinity. The production of content for digital media, for example, will be a great force, because these children are, today, one of the largest consumers and producers in this segment.
According to Forbes magazine, the highest-paid youtuber in the world in 2018 was a 7-year-old boy who tests toys on his channel, Ryan ToysReview, earning about $ 22 million a year. And there’s more: a Lego research found that Alphas children dream more about their career as a digital influencer than as an astronaut.
And what is the impact of this new generation for business?
These children have been already impacting companies in recent years, after all, they are more than familiar with digital media. Thus, even with the rules of advertising for children on YouTube Kids, they consume a wide variety of content, such as advertisements, reviews and posts for new products. And from that, they assimilate the information and create their own opinions, which are shared with parents – and generally accepted by them.
In addition, predictions, according to a BBC report, show that, by 2025, the Alpha Generation will have more than 2 billion people. In other words, it will represent a considerable portion of consumers, who will directly influence the strategic decisions of companies, especially those that have products or services more focused on young people. But how can brands communicate with this new generation?
There is no unique or easy answer for this. But one thing is certain: brands need to create playful content, which can promote positive and innovative experiences for parents and children, thus building a good relationship with the Alphas. And, over time, they have to follow the trends of behavior of these consumers, in order to always review their strategic actions in favor of the new winds.
The future will increasingly belong to the Alpha Generation, which is already born into the digital world. Thus, it is important that companies reinforce their presence on the internet, with websites, blogs, social networks and other forms of interaction that allow them to connect with these new consumers. And, for that, it is necessary that brands and designers think together their strategies, focusing on creative content and innovative experiences.