Ladies and gentlemen, let’s take a journey back in time. Close your eyes and imagine a year filled with the melodies of Justin Bieber and the captivating performances of Lady Gaga, dominating the musical landscape. We can still hear the infectious sounds of “Waka Waka” and the echoes of the Vuvuzela.
It’s also the year of the unforgettable Gulf of Mexico disaster, a massive shitshow by the actions of a certain “beloved” entity known as BP. The year Obama was still president of the United States and a quirky yet catchy “bed intruder” song resonated across the digital realm as one of the biggest virals of its time.
This was the year when the revolutionary iPad found its way into our lives, and the allure of Instagram began weaving connections through the practice of visual storytelling. Can you feel the nostalgia in the air? Yes, we’re reminiscing about none other than the unforgettable year 2010. While every word above has its place in history, what truly captures our attention is the birth of a new generation: Generation Alpha.
Alright, sure. But why “Generation Alpha”?
At some point, these titles almost seem random to us. Why, among all conceivable possibilities, has this generation earned the name “Alpha”? Insights gained from McCrindle tell us the following:
“The research agency enlisted Australians to christen the generation succeeding Generation Z. Opting for a departure from the norm, they settled on Generation Alpha, aligning with the use of the Greek alphabet. They decided to go with simpler names because they ran out of hurricane names and wanted names that would stand the test of time and represent each generation.”
This reasoning appears fair enough. However, Generation Alpha bears an alternate nickname: ‘Generation Glass.’ The subtlety of this label requires no elaboration. Generation Alpha made its debut in a land dominated by smartphones, tablets, cryptocurrencies, a profusion of captivating social media platforms, and of course, video games cannot be excluded. According to insights gathered from generationalpha.com, their teenage cohort spends an astonishing average of 8 hours per day in the blue glow of screens (!). A staggering concept. Consider this: if 8 hours are claimed by sleep, then half the day is devoted to gazing into the embrace of a glass surface radiating the azure glow of technology. To be fair, this isn’t groundbreaking news, as the baton of shared screen time is passed from the previous generation, Gen Z. Speaking of which, what distinguishes these two?
Keep it real, or become irrelevant
Throughout our exploration, we’ve delved into Razorfish’s report and various sources, yielding fascinating findings. Generation Alpha appears to revolve around authenticity—keeping it real, so to speak. They possess an innate ability to discern what’s genuine and relevant, particularly in the world of brands. It’s as if they have a knack for identifying the significant essence that matters, subsequently filtering out the irrelevant.
While each generation can be seen as a heterogeneous group of people, generation Alpha seems to have some distinct characteristics… Their entrance into a world where the last “Alpha” will be born in 2024 promises an experience vastly different from the present. Proficiency in operating cars might not be theirs; casting a vote at a polling booth could feel like the stone age; and conventional passports might be perceived as antiquities. This generation seamlessly integrates with the digital domain, as if it’s second nature—a phenomenon on its own.
Their career paths will also possess a unique touch – envision roles such as coders, data experts, custodians of digital currency, virtual spaces, and creative minds shaping the online world. However, there’s more to it. Their comprehension of artificial intelligence is bound to be incredibly impressive. They will utilise it as a potent tool to transform their aspirations into reality. To learn more about the collaboration between humans and AI, you can read our previous insight here.
The transition of authority has been introduced by ‘Gen Z’
It’s evident that Generation Alpha hasn’t merely embraced the digital universe; they’ve fused with it in a manner that’s undeniably notorious. One of the most standout aspects of a typical Alpha, is their enthusiasm for a specific group of influencers, more commonly referred to as creators. Each Alpha individual possesses their own distinct interests, and it’s within these spheres that their corresponding creators flourish.
These creators hold a significant position in the lives of Alphas, second only to their families and friends. Consider this: if you’re a millennial or an early Gen Z’er, your entertainment was often guided by television, shaped by your favourite channels, and influenced by a variety of content sources. Yet, for Generation Alpha, this dynamic is entirely different. Equipped with personal devices, they curate their own entertainment, ranging from games to the content produced by their preferred creators. Algorithms work in that favour, delivering content that aligns with their interests and promoting a more personalised and engaging screen time experience.
Creators all the way
The landscape of influencers has undergone a significant shift; the era of Disney stars like Miley Cyrus (Hannah Montana) and Dylan & Cole Sprouse (The Suite Life Of Zack And Cody) has transitioned into an age of boundless influencers to select from. Their focus revolves around forming connections and discovering like-minded souls. The influence commanded by figures such as Greta Thunberg speaks volumes. Her ability to resonate globally showcases the potency of social media in the hands of this generation.
Greta Thunberg is the perfect example for Generation Alpha. Her clear values and courageous activism have propelled her to become a global phenomenon. From online influence to real-world action like “Fridays for Future,” she embodies the role model to which this generation strongly connects.
This reality underscores the pivotal role creators play in connecting with Generation Alpha. The lessons learned from Generation Z remain valid: authenticity and adaptability are essential for maintaining relevance. However, these principles are about to become even more crucial. In a world where push notifications and intrusive advertisements saturate every corner, Generation Alpha is on the verge of revolutionising the game.
Based on insights from Wunderman Thompson’s report, the predominant sources of influence are creators (25%), family (21%), and friends (28%). In contrast, traditional mediums like television and even radio (1%) hold the least sway. This is a clear indication to businesses that the time to align with the future is now. When combined, Generations Alpha and Z will encompass an astonishing 5 billion individuals. The scale of this market is inconceivable, and enterprises that can adapt have the potential to leave a lasting mark on the market. Generation Alpha provides a blueprint for businesses, suggesting that they thrive in organisations characterised by minimalism, sustainability, and a commitment to ‘clean products’ (natural, organic, chemical-free), not to forget strong ethical values.
Let’s ponder: what will the social media landscape be like a decade from now?
It’s unsurprising that in the digital landscape, Generation Alpha predominantly gravitates towards games. Titles like Fortnite, Minecraft, and Mario enjoy immense popularity. However, they all take a backseat to the colossal social gaming platform—Roblox. It’s a platform that seamlessly blends gaming, game-development, and social interaction. Among its impressive 214 million active users, half are under the age of 13—truly demonstrative of Generation Alpha’s domain.
It got us wondering: In addition to TikTok, Snapchat emerges as a significant platform for this generation. Out of its approximately 650 million active users, 26 million are under the age of 14 worldwide. That number pales into insignificance compared to Roblox. The social landscape is dynamic, and predicting the dominant social media platforms for this generation poses a challenge; we would advise to look beyond the contemporary.
Just like explorers stepping into uncharted territory, we’re curious about what Generation Alpha, with its 2.7 billion members (and counting), will bring to the global table. McCrindle’s detailed research offers some intriguing insights: Generation Alpha will be most represented in the countries: India, China, and Nigeria, which are full of potential. Indonesia also stands out as a big player in this group, following a pattern we saw with Gen Z. This hints at a shift we can’t ignore—the rise of Asian countries to global importance. And then there are countries like Qatar and the UAE, adding to the game with their fast growth and youthful populations. By now, it is hard to deny that the earth’s epicentre of power is moving towards Asia.
In regards of economic power, India takes a leading role with its booming economy and strong purchasing power. But hold on, let’s not forget Africa. Nations like Nigeria, Rwanda, Ethiopia, and Côte d’Ivoire are gaining recognition as the fastest-growing economies, backed by Qassurance.
Ageing, a topic we cannot afford to miss
There’s a challenge mixed in with the promise—a generational legacy passed onto Generation Alpha. It’s a serious issue, especially in places like Japan, South Korea, and half of Europe. Their aging populations are putting pressure on healthcare, rural regions, and pension systems.
The solution might seem simple: boost birth rates. However, it’s not that easy. Consider Japan, where a quick Google session shows a big difference—800,000 births per year today versus a solid two million back in the seventies. Times have changed. The appeal of parenthood is shrinking as work demands keep rising. The old norms hang around, with men mostly working and women mainly handling childcare. This situation stretches further—Generation Z and especially Alpha are likely to stay with their families longer because of extended education. McCrindle predicts that half of Generation Alphas will have university degrees.
With skyrocketing urban housing prices around the world, detachment becomes tricky for Generation Alpha. These issues come together to create a bunch of challenges that we can’t just brush off—the impacts, while uncertain, will most likely influence generation alpha
Navigating through religion, connection, and culture
Apart from fighting ageing, a standout trait of Generation Alpha shows up—they’re stepping away from religious practices, but at the same time, they’re craving community. They’ve learned from millennials, making freedom and flexible careers their way of life. However, mental health struggles are a concern, pushing for a much-needed shift—time away from screens and more time outdoors for both mental and physical health. Diet habits are changing too, with local, organic, eco-friendly, and plant-based consumption becoming the norm.
In the sphere of culture, Generation Alpha is a mix of diversity. Love knows no borders, and these kids inherit heritage from all around the world. Different cultures bring strengths and challenges, shaping who they become. Ironically grandparents a.k.a. Generation X will play a big part when it comes to sharing and educating about culture. They form a bridge between the past and the future, guiding the Alphas as they navigate life.
All in all, let’s embrace this new generation, and issue culture into the next era.
If you’ve been keeping up with us so far, you’re getting pretty close to wrapping your head around Generation Alpha. There’s one more thing we want to mention. The Alpha era has its upsides and its challenges. A great thing about Generation Alpha is their strong desire for a better world. They have fresh and even revolutionary ideas and beliefs. As we see these youngsters growing up, let’s not just recognise but fully welcome this new era in the human story on earth. These young people who are still growing have the power to change and redefine the path we’re all on together.
Eventually, we’re all about facing the future head-on, embracing whatever comes our way. But most importantly, we’re committed to issuing culture into the next era. It’s not just a tagline; it’s our reason for being.