Gen Alpha: It's Time for Marketers to Start Paying Attention

By IPG Mediabrands InSites Archives
Cover image for  article: Gen Alpha: It's Time for Marketers to Start Paying Attention

Google just turned 25 last week. The first generation to be completely born in a post-Google world is Gen Alpha. There are three big ways Gen Alpha stands out. I like to call them the three Ds: diversity, digital nativity and influence on decisions. Gen Alpha are those born between 2010 and 2025. The oldest of this new generation is only 13, and some of them haven’t even been born yet.

Diversity: Gen Alpha are born digital natives and far more diverse than Gen Z. Twenty-six percent of Gen Alpha will be Hispanic, compared with 19% for the general population. On top of that, 7% will be two or more races, versus 3% for the overall population.

Digital nativity. Yes, we said Gen Z was digitally native too, but did you know 40% or more of those under 6 years old already have a tablet? Of course, they’re a tech-savvy generation, since they’re being raised by millennial and Gen X parents who claim to be skeptical of brands and marketing. And don’t forget this is also the first generation that requests homework help from smart speakers.

But what does this all mean for brands?

Decisions: They’re influencing them! Gen Alpha is already exerting influence on household purchases of games, toys and children’s apparel, as well as family grocery and restaurant choices (pssst, McDonald’s is their favorite restaurant). More than four in five parents of Gen Alpha said their kids ask for specific brands by name. It’s partly because some of these brands are big and ubiquitous, but it’s also because Gen Alpha’s parents involve them in decision-making on everything from restaurants to travel.

Parents also report their kids watch shopping content like haul and unboxing videos, where they get ideas about new products and brands. They expect brands to be authentic and keep their promises. So if two-day shipping is advertised, their goods better be delivered in those two days.

Media choices. Like generations before them, kids are turning to entertainment for escape. How they get it is the big difference. This is where being the first fully mobile generation comes into play. Over 73% of U.S. children under 12 use the internet, and nearly 17% are smartphone users, according to eMarketer. By 2026, 10.2 million U.S. children will own a smartphone. Nearly 57% of kids under 12 use YouTube, according to eMarketer.

As kids get older, their use of social and audio platforms notably increases, which might relate to many getting their first smartphones as they enter their teens.

They’re brand-savvy -- but don’t forget, they’re kids. Finally, when continuing to observe this cohort, we have to remember that Gen Alpha are still kids and as such, we need to pay heed to regulations regarding marketing to kids under 13.

From a marketing perspective, it comes down to covering the basics. Keep tabs on their media habits and meet them in the spaces where they spend time (when and where allowed by law). Provide solutions to their problems: entertainment if they’re bored, relief if they’re stressed, nuggets if they’re hungry. And deliver on your brand promises, whether that be shipping their products in a timely manner -- or, yes, even saving the world. They will hold you accountable with their wallets very soon.

Article first published by MediaPost.

Posted at MediaVillage through the Thought Leadership self-publishing platform.

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