Time to feel old. If you were just getting your head around marketers’ obsession with millennials, get ready for Gen Alpha to take center stage. Here’s what you need to know to get ahead, really ahead:

The Basics
Generation Alpha, also known as the “children of millennials,” is the first generation born entirely within the 21st century. (Gen Z stretches back to the mid-1990s.) Mark McCrindle, a generational researcher and consultant in Australia, coined the term back in 2005. It has stuck with generational forecasters so far.

The Numbers

  • Gen Alphas have birth dates starting in 2010, so the majority of this cohort are still sporting diapers, teething or have not even made it to the womb yet.
  • The year 2010 was chosen as this was the year both Instagram and the iPad launched.
  • McCrindle’s consultancy has predicted that 2.5 million Alphas are born around the world every week.
  • The generation will reach a total of 2 billion people worldwide by the time the youngest people are born in 2025.

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

Hotwire is already working with companies like software company McAfee and robotics company Anki to use its Gen Alphas findings to guide the strategy in their latest campaigns.

The media angle
Fullscreen Media, which runs its entire entertainment business with Gen-Zers’ multichannel use in mind, is already researching the young Alphas before they grow into its target audience and is finding that their attention spans are actually showing more promise. Crystal Surrency, vp of strategy and insights at Fullscreen Media, said that when watching content with their millennial parents, Alphas prefer to watch content eight minutes or longer.

What’s the same
Some believe a lot of the characteristics found in Gen Zers will become even more prominent in Alphas as they grow up. Victoria Mulligan, assistant of insights and strategy at Carat US, said to expect the same pull toward multiculturalism and even further disintegration of gender norms.

Why Gen Alphas matter
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, and found that 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, and around 27 percent of them said they asked their kids’ opinions before buying a new TV, laptop, tablet or phone.

Gen Alphas are also expected to be the longest-living generation as well as the wealthiest, according to accounting firm Grant Thornton.

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