According to recent studies, Generation Alpha, the youngest age group entering their teenage years, is poised to become the biggest disruptor at retail.
“We already see them having a lot of influence on purchasing even beyond their own spend and pocket money,” Mark McCrindle, the Australian social researcher who coined the term Generation Alpha, recently told NACS Magazine. “They are influencing parental purchasing decisions—’kidfluence’ as it’s called. They understand pop culture. They’re on websites, and they know what the latest trends are. They’re growing up in a society where, in many ways, young people have more power than they used to.”
Generally seen as the generation born from the mid-2010s through the mid-2020s, with about 2.8 million kids born weekly into the demographic, it is estimated that by 2025, it will be the largest generation in history, according to McCrindle latest research.
According to Bloomberg, Generation Alpha has $360 million in annual disposable income. By 2030, they will comprise 11 percent of the global workforce and could likely delay marriage, childbirth and retirement, according to McCrindle’s findings.
Much of the recent Gen-Alpha discussion has explored its digital savvy and potential to drive the success of the metaverse.
McCrindle Research states, “Coming of age in unprecedented times of change and rapid technological advancement, Generation Alpha is part of an unintentional global experiment where screens are placed in front of them from the youngest age as pacifiers, entertainers and educational aids. This great screen age we are all living in has a bigger impact on the generation exposed to such screen saturation during their formative years. From shorter attention spans to the gamification of education, from increased digital literacy to the impaired social formation, these times impact us all but transform those in their formative years.”
Research in 2022 from Cassandra by Big Village, based on a survey of 1,000 U.S. parents of Gen Alphas and 700 older Gen Alphas ages 7-to-12 years old, showed Gen-Alpha’s digital prowess, including:
- 55 percent of 7–to-12-year-olds use social media, and 64 percent would rather be a YouTube/social media influencer than the president of the U.S;
- When asked how they introduce themselves, 58 percent of 7–to-12-year-olds said as a gamer with gaming topping their list of favorite pastimes;
- 77 percent of Gen Alpha’s said they learn best when they use technology, 76 percent believe technology outweighs the bad, and 82 percent agree they can figure most things out if they have access to technology.
Of the 7–to-12-year-olds surveyed, 59 percent agreed that mental health is a big issue, and 62 percent said their school should focus more on mental health education than physical education.
Generation Alpha was found to be more socially aware than past generations.
“Between living their most critical years in development through a global pandemic and carrying the weight of previous generations and their decisions on their shoulders, they are coming of age in an infinitely complex world full of infinite challenges,” said Kathy Sheehan, SVP, Cassandra, in the report. “Despite this, they exhibit kindness, empathy and fluidity and the belief that they have also been handed what they see as the answer to a lot of these challenges—unmatched technological access and ability from a very young age. And with this comes infinite possibilities.”
A study from research firm GWI, “Gen Alpha: the real picture,” based on a survey of 19,240 internet users ages 8-to-15 in 2022 found that outside of China, over one in four kids said playing video games is what they spend the most time doing on weekends, which ranked ahead of watching TV/movies (18 percent), using social media (14 percent) and talking to friends online (6 percent). The majority of 12-to-15-year-olds identified as gamers (81 percent), with 70 percent playing every, or most days.
GWI’s study also identified Gen Alphas as what researchers call “upagers,” meaning they are more socially aware at a young age and become consumers more quickly. Primary reasons include Gen Alpha’s expect to be the most diverse generation in history and maturing in a climate emergency.
Among U.S. 12-to-15-year-olds, the Top 5 things most important to them are helping people, cited by 61 percent; protecting people from bullying, 51 percent; ensuring everyone is being treated the same, also 51 percent; what my family thinks of me, 46 percent, and my family background/culture, 41 percent.
Thirty-six percent of U.S. 12-to-15-year-old said caring for the planet is important to them, while 29 percent described themselves as health-conscious.
In a recent blog entry, Susan Reda, VP, education strategy at the National Retail Federation, noted that given their gaming inclination, Gen Alpha want to be active participants and play a part in finding solutions, suggesting “they will want to have relationships with brands and not just passively consume.”
Reda also inferred that Generation Alpha’s early exposure to world issues would elevate the importance of ESG issues. “In other words, this generation, which is already more diverse than any that came before, will expect inclusion and equality to be the norm and experiences to be culturally diverse,” she wrote.