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Gen Alpha: Small Pockets, Big Influence in 2021

With an increased focus on generational differences, marketers have been told how to appeal to Gen Z, how to understand Boomers, and how to talk to Millennials. But how much do brands know about the up-and-coming Generation Alpha?

Does this new generation have any influence – yet?

Driven to find out, we tried to understand Gen Alpha – what’s important to them and their impact on buying behavior today. I know what you’re thinking, aged between 3 and 10 years old, they only have pocket money – if that. 

But influential consumers aren’t only those with direct spending power. Although Gen Alphas are “small” their influence is big – and by understanding this generation early, brands will be able to be a step ahead of the game.

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It’s no surprise Gen Alpha are more informed, and tech-savvy compared to other generations, they learn by doing, they’re active and love to socialize. But, according to their Gen X and Millennial parents, this cohort is growing up with more choices and better family dynamics than they had in their childhoods – parents say they spend more time with their children and give them more attention than their parents did​.   

So, to understand the full impact of these youngsters, we should look at who is actually tall enough to reach the items on the shelves, their Gen Alpha parents.

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We found their children’s preferences are the number one factor driving parents’ purchases. 80% of US parents gravitate towards products customized to their children, and 70% consult with their child before purchasing a product for their use. And more than half [55%] give in to ‘pester power’ from their children when they purchase new products. 

Kids especially influence the purchase of toys, snacks and other food items​ such as juice, yogurt, and milk. So, food brands open your ears! 95% of US parents are willing to pay more for products with healthier ingredients, and 45% buy more allergen free products because of their child​.

Brands learning more about this generation now will not only be able to appeal to them while they’re still young, but they will also be able to approach them effectively in future, as they become adults. So here are some key takeaways:

35% of Gen Alpha started using technology between the ages of 3 and 4, with 75% in the US influenced by YouTube. 

For parents, brands and price are less important than health ​aspects and ingredients when they make their choices​, as they are prepared to spend more for higher quality and healthier products. Brands need to target their messaging, identify their values and what they stand for if they want to be the choice for parents.

According to their parents, the Gen Alpha cohort is growing up with more choices than their parents had, and children are ready to explore these choices. This means new or smaller brands can emerge if they play their cards right; while big brands need to make sure they don’t lose their advantage.

With technology and positive family dynamics most predominant in Gen Alpha’s lives, brands wanting to reach to this generation should seek out the intersections of interactivity and family ​environment. We saw YouTube influences children so looking at the future of this channel and how to use it to interact with children is a good start.

[To share your insights, please write to us at sghosh@martechseries.com]

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