Have you wondered how every generation introduces new customs, behaviors, and cultural phenomena that shape the world as we know it?
Baby Boomers brought significant economic influence.
Generation X questioned authority and the social norms that were in place.
Millennials taught us new ways of viewing our socio-political world.
Generation Z showed us what the intersection of technology and humanity looks like.
We now have Generation Alpha, a demographic of tech-savvy and unapologetically influential children who will enter adulthood at the end of the 2020s.
At this point you might think, “Generation Alpha are just kids. They’re not our buyers. Why should we be concerned with marketing to Generation Alpha right now?”
However, studies have shown that children under 12 can influence parental purchases of $130 to $670 billion a year.
And it won’t be long before they are the primary buyers of your products and services.
It’s never too early to prepare. Since the oldest members of this generation are starting to hit middle school, we may even be cutting it close!
Let’s take a look at the climate shaping Generation Alpha and how to adapt your marketing to Generation Alpha’s wants and needs.
Key Takeaways about Generation Alpha
- Generation Alpha is the first generation to grow up with technology and the internet.
- The Alpha Generation values trust, transparency, and security.
- While they may not be old enough to make significant purchases yet, Generation Alpha still has a lot of buying power.
- It’s important to think about how you will promote your products and services to Generation Alpha in the future.
Who Is Considered Generation Alpha?
Generation Alpha (or “Gen Alpha”) covers those born between 2010 and 2024 and is the demographic cohort after Generation Z.
The children of Generation Xers, Millennials, and older members of Generation Z, it’s estimated that there will be 2.2 billion Generation Alphas by 2025.
Generation Alpha Characteristics
The Alpha Generation is the first generation to be all born after the year 2000. This means this generation has grown up with technology.
These kids grew up playing with tablets and iPads and are extremely confident online. In fact, this generation has the highest screen time of any generation. Children between 8 and 12 spend an average of 4 hours and 44 minutes in front of screens every day!
So, we know the Alpha Generation is comfortable in front of a laptop, smartphone, or tablet and stays on top of the latest tech. However, what else defines them? Let’s look at some characteristics of Generation Alpha.
They Have More Purchasing Power
According to McCrindle Research, Generation Alpha is the most materially endowed generation ever. It’s expected they will:
- Stay in education longer
- Stay at home with their parents longer
- Get married, buy homes, and have kids later
This means they will have more disposable income than previous generations. According to Bain and Company, Gen Alpha’s spending is set to grow three times faster than all generations by 2030, apart from Gen Z.
Not only this, but the Alpha Generation’s tastes are highly-refined, due to access to the internet from an early age. Rather than wanting products aimed at kids, they want products aimed at adults.
For example, Christmas 2023 saw many Generation Alpha girls asking for high-value skincare products and Stanley Cups.
Even younger Generation Alphas are influencing household purchasing decisions. This is because they’re exposed to brands and advertising from a young age.
According to Morning Consult, Gen Alpha kids get involved in various purchasing decisions, including games, toys, clothes, even groceries and where to eat out!
They Are Strong on Social Issues
Some people may think that all Gen Alpha wants to do is play on their phones, but nothing could be further from the truth.
This generation is all about fair representation, diversity, and making the world a better place.
46 percent of Generation Alphas are interested in the environment and climate change, with 33 percent paying attention to diversity and equality in the media.
“When marketing to Gen Alpha, it’s vital that your marketing campaigns are authentic, inclusive, and thoughtful,” says Tierney Brannigan, Senior Manager of Content Strategy at NP Digital. “This generation will not stand for brands that come across as disingenuous, exclusive, or unphased by the issues our world faces today.”
They Know How Their Data is Used
Schools are educating children more on digital literacy and data privacy, and websites offer users more control and transparency, for example, through cookie popups.
This means Gen Alpha may be warier of providing or allowing access to their data to social media giants, search engines, and ad agencies.
Generation Alpha already has a deep understanding of their data and how companies use it. For example, 45 percent of Gen Alpha believe that companies should not give their personal data to third parties.
How to Market to Gen Alpha
It might feel strange wondering how to market your product or service to a tweenage market. However, if you want to get ahead of your competitors, it’s vital to start thinking about marketing to Generation Alpha.
Here are my top five tips for appealing to the Alpha Generation.
1. Commit to Your Values
When we talk about values, sustainability, diversity, and good mental health are critical to this cohort. Gen Alpha uses social media and online communities to share their experiences with mental health, and schools are more likely to incorporate discussions about it in their curriculums.
As a result, Gen Alpha is more likely to buy from brands that align with their personal values.
Here’s an example of how a brand that’s popular with Generation Alpha has shown its values in recent years. Disney+ has released shows that show diversity (Ms. Marvel), sustainability (Welcome to Earth), and acceptance (Luca).
2. Develop Immersive Campaigns
The past couple of years have seen the rise of immersive marketing – marketing that places the viewer directly within the experience. Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are popular with people from all walks of life, but predominantly Gen Alpha.
One in ten Gen Alphas own their own VR headset, with one in four living in a household that has one.
So, why does Generation Alpha enjoy immersive marketing so much? As well as being used to the technology in a way that other generations aren’t, Gen Alpha craves exciting experiences and social interaction. Users can become part of an exciting online community where they can make friends and share stories with people like them.
For a great example of how a brand uses immersive marketing to sell to Gen Alpha, take LEGO. People can download the LEGO AR-Studio app and play with digital versions of LEGO sets, interacting with them in fun ways and unlocking new animations.
As well as AR and VR, immersive games are popular with this cohort too. “If you want to market to Gen Alpha, you should consider popular games like Roblox and Minecraft,” says Tierney Brannigan. “For example, you can build virtual stores and experiences that allow players to interact directly with your brand.”
58 percent of Gen Alpha enjoy Minecraft, with 43 percent preferring Roblox.
A range of brands have capitalized on Generation Alpha’s enjoyment of online gaming, with Nike, Forever 21, and Walmart all setting up shop on Roblox to appeal to younger players.
Alt text: Walmart Discovered on Roblox
3. Engage on Social Media
Generation Alpha lives and breathes social media, making it a fantastic way to appeal to young people.
According to GWI, young people use social media to see what’s trending and watch sports, as well as look at memes and funny posts to share with friends.
Which social media platform is best at getting the Alpha Generation’s attention? “When it comes to platforms, YouTube and TikTok are your best bets for reaching Gen Alpha,” says Tierney Brannigan.
According to the Precise Advertiser Report, YouTube is the favorite platform of 43 percent of Gen Alpha kids, with TikTok popular with 21 percent of the Alpha Generation.
Alt text: Pie chart showing Gen Alpha’s social media preferences
So, how can you use social media to get the attention of Generation Alpha? As trust and authenticity are important to this generation, working with influencers and creating user-generated content can be a great way of showcasing your brand in a credible way.
There are many influencers on social media, but one of the most popular with Generation Alpha is MrBeast.
Why do MrBeast’s videos appeal to Gen Alpha?
They’re fast-paced and on-trend, often taking inspiration from games and TV shows. They’re also authentic and show that it’s good to be kind, with many videos show MrBeast giving gifts to unsuspecting participants.
4. Personalize Your Marketing Efforts
The Alpha Generation is used to getting information when they need it online. As a result, they value fast results and an exceptional user experience, for example, through personalization.
Let’s look at Spotify Kids. Spotify Kids offers a personalized experience, with curated playlists based on a child’s age and mood, as well as by activity – for example, study or play. Spotify Kids offers additional recommendations based on what listeners like, coupled with an ability for parents to set listening limitations.
How else can you use personalization when marketing to Gen Alpha? Here are some ideas:
- Giving them the option to customize their experience on your website or app. For example, changing the background color or letting them design their own avatar
- Creating a personalized homepage or landing page based on their needs
- Offering customized product suggestions and search results on eCommerce websites
- Using email personalization to make it feel like you’re talking directly to them
5. Experiment With Gamification
Gamification is when you use video game-like elements to boost engagement. For example, if you have a fitness tracker, it’s likely to use gamification to encourage you to increase your daily step count or go to the gym!
As we looked at earlier, Generation Alpha loves playing video games. You can use this to your advantage when marketing to them.
Let’s look at Twitch, an online platform that specializes in video game live-streaming. Users can buy “Bits” that they can use to get shout-outs in live chat, show support to streamers they like, and unlock rewards like badges and exclusive emojis.
Of course, when using gamification to appeal to Gen Alpha, it’s important to do it safely and ethically. Make sure you let them know what data you collect and focus on promoting a healthy, inclusive, and positive experience.
How is the Alpha Generation Different From Other Generations?
Generation Alpha was the first generation born entirely in the 21st century. This means they grew up with technology and social media, which has shaped their personality and how they view the world.
In comparison, while generations like Millennials and Generation Z are comfortable with technology, they did not grow up with it in the same way as Gen Alpha.
How Does Technology Shape Gen Alpha’s Values?
As the first generation to grow up using the internet, technology plays a significant role in the Alpha Generation’s values. For example, as Gen Alpha is exposed to different cultures and viewpoints online, they have a very global mindset and are more likely to understand the views of others.
As Gen Alpha is tech-savvy, they see technology as a good thing and something that people should embrace rather than something people should avoid. They are likely to be optimistic about artificial intelligence, machine learning, and virtual reality.
What Role Do Influencers Play With Gen Alphas?
Generation Alpha relies on influencers to showcase new products and services for them to try. 25 percent of purchase decisions made by the Alpha Generation are driven by influencers.
Authenticity and credibility are critical to Generation Alpha, and they are drawn to influencers as they’re relatable, accessible, and trustworthy.
Generation Alpha Conclusion
While the Alpha Generation may still be young and finding its way in the world, it’s vital to factor marketing to Generation Alpha into your business strategy now.
Even members of Gen Alpha aren’t buying your products and services directly; they’re influencing their parents’ buying decisions.
Marketers who pay attention to this generation will be better prepared to out-market big competitors in the coming years.
Are you marketing to Gen Alpha? What predictions do you have for this generation in the future?
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