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Here Comes Generation Alpha

There are lots of scary headlines lately but this one may be the scariest yet: Here Comes Generation Alpha. The name is what it implies – move over Millennials, Alphas are the new, well, alphas, when it comes to who is making household purchasing decisions. These are kids born in 2010, the same year that the iPad came out. They are the new influencers. They are the generation who won’t remember when you could look something up on google by the act of typing because they know all you have to do is ask (a device, not a real person).   

Hotwire surveyed 8,000 parents of Alphas in multiple countries for its “Understanding Generation Alpha” report (link below). An overwhelming majority of parents said that their kids’ preferences influenced the parents’ tech purchases.  Mark McCrindle, a social researcher in Australia, created the name “Generation Alpha” and according to his research, more than 2.5 million Alphas are born every week.   Further, McCrindle states that this generation will be “the most formally educated”, “technology-supplied”, and “wealthiest” group ever.

So what is the effect of this highly educated and demanding generation on the advertising world? To start, there is a focus on engaging the young consumer but also making mom and dad happy. Brands that traditionally sell to mom and dad are asking what they can do to expand their brands to attract the kids as kids have more of a role in family decisions.  The days of being seen and not heard are long gone….

However, as Spiderman’s Uncle Ben says, with great power comes great responsibility.  Marketing to children comes with the added responsibility of ensuring that such marketing complies with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, particularly in the realm of digital and connected toys.  On top of that, we enter the murky waters of data collection in the age of Alexa. Information can be stored as audio files. When your six-year old asks Alexa about baby elephants, that may not count as personal information (as the FTC ruled in 2017) but what if he or she gives out their name or address?  The Alphas are sophisticated for sure but are they sophisticated enough to protect themselves from what we recognize as privacy and data concerns? Maybe not yet. But marketers (and parents) will be wise to keep an eye on this generation.

Link to report: hotwireglobal.com/generation-alpha

Addie Johnson