Gen Alpha: Get Ready, ‘Cuz Here They Come

Just when direct selling companies figured out how to engage with millennials … here comes Gen Alpha.

Over the last decade, companies have invested a lot of time and energy into marketing to millennials, who in April of this year surpassed baby boomers to become the largest living generation. They’ll have another decade to start planning for the children of millennials, Generation Alpha, when the first wave of them starts turning 18 in 2028.

What do you need to know about this cohort, the first generation that will be born entirely in the 21st century?

Say What! How Many?

With birth dates starting in 2010, the majority are just now entering school. Gen Alphas are expected to be the longest-living generation as well as the wealthiest, according to accounting firm Grant Thornton. It is expected that many will live to see the 22nd century.

According to the Pew Research Center, baby boomers peaked in 1999 at 78.1 million. Millennials are projected to peak in 2036 at 76.2 million.

And Gen Alpha? According to Mark McCrindle, the Australian generational researcher and consultant, 2.5 million members of Gen Alpha are born every week around the world. When all the members of this generation are born in 2025, they will number … wait for it … almost 2 billion!

Like Father, Like Son? Kinda, Sorta

Alphas are expected to be the most formally educated, wealthiest generation in history. And of course, you can expect that they will be better supplied with technology than any previous generation.

Like their parents, Alphas are going to expect the same interactive, responsive experiences from brands. According to Laura Macdonald, head of consumer of North America at Hotwire, “So if clothing companies start using AR to help people create bespoke experiences while shopping—which brands like Nike already are—Generation Alpha will expect the same from grocery stores, or even when it comes to buying car insurance.”

As for attention span? Fullscreen Media, an entertainment business with Gen-Zers’ multichannel use in mind, is already researching Alphas before they grow into its target audience. It is finding that the attention spans of Gen Alpha are showing more promise than their parents. When watching content with mom and dad, Alphas prefer to watch content eight minutes or longer.

And as for the world around them, many believe some of the characteristics found in Gen Zers will become even more prominent in Alphas, with the same pull toward multiculturalism and even further disintegration of gender norms. 

Do I Have to Think About This Now?

Well, no. But you should. Here’s why. Alphas are already guiding many of the purchasing decisions within their families.

In a July study called “Understanding Generation Alpha,” OnePoll conducted a survey, on behalf of Hotwire, of 8,000 millennial parents around the world with children between 4 and 9 years old. Their findings?

65 percent of these parents said the habits of their children influenced their last purchase. That number bounced to 81 percent among U.S. millennial parents.

  • About 31 percent of these parents believe tech matters more to their kids than toys, holidays or pets.
  • About 27 percent said they asked their kids’ opinions before buying a new TV, laptop, tablet or phone.

Get ready. There’s a new kid in town, so you might want to start your planning now.