Meet Generation Alpha

Trends / Realness
Marko Geber
Davina Ajana
Aug 4, 2022
Introducing the mini‑Millennials: Generation Alpha. This is the generation of children born between 2010 and 2025. They will make up more than 1 of 7 people in the world and will outnumber Baby Boomers by 2025. According to Mark Mccrindle, the Australian researcher who coined the term, Gen Alpha will have the greatest spending power in history.1
The key to a brand’s future success lies in its customers’ loyalty, so how can this be gained with Generation Alpha? The answer, for now, is through their parents: though mostly Millennials, some Gen Xers are waiting longer to start a family, and new parents aged 45 and over are at the highest level since records began 80 years ago.2  Our VisualGPS data shows that the top focus for Millennial parents is their family's wellbeing. If brands have learnt anything about Millennials, they want the absolute best for themselves and for their children. Millennial parents research the products they buy, and they have control over which brands Gen Alpha is exposed to from an early age.  

Gen Alphas are hands‑on with tech and where screen‑time was once seen as problematic, experts say interacting with digital tools can enhance children’s creative thinking. So when it comes to choosing visual content directed at Gen Alpha, always think digital‑first. They tend to be visual and engage best with these types of media. Gen Alpha are tech‑driven, social media will be a major gateway in reaching them. Currently, online videos (24%) and social media (19%) have the greatest influence on Gen Alpha’s purchasing decisions, strongly followed by visuals on websites and apps. They tend to be visual and engage best with these types of media.

Amongst popular visuals at Getty Images, 26% of visuals showing children aged 5‑7 years without their parents are related to conceptual humor, and many tell emotive stories through the concepts of imagination, curiosity, innovation, and play, relying on visual clichés such as a superhero, scientist, or a businessperson. A child is often used as a key metaphor for growth and the future: top concepts are mostly about learning and play, this can represent stability and future growth. But when it comes to picturing Gen Alpha authentically, brands should think about the unique values that belong to this fast‑growing generation.
Named the ‘new old fashioned’ despite their tech‑savvy skills, Gen Alpha values family time and playing outdoors.
Connected to the Environment
Despite their tech‑savvy skills, Gen Alpha values family time, embraces traditional outdoor activities and is interested in environmental topics. Named the ‘new old fashioned’ despite their tech‑savvy skills, Gen Alpha value family time and playing outdoors.3 Their Baby Boomer grandparents have influenced this generation, placing a huge emphasis on outdoor play. At Getty Images, while 1 in 3 stories show children immersed in nature and the outdoors, often playing traditional games with their peers or parents, only 7% of all popular visuals feature children with their grandparents, playing sport games outdoors, gardening or bonding with each other. So, continue to focus on visuals that show Gen Alpha embracing family moments and the freedom to enjoy the outdoors.
Naturally, Gen Alpha is also interested in environmental topics. According to the Wunderman Thompson Commerce report, 67% of 6‑ to 9‑year‑olds say that saving the planet will be the central mission of their careers in the future. For Gen Alpha therefore, reshaping the future means putting climate change high on their agenda. This generation also values the importance of inclusion and equality and will gravitate towards brands that reflect these values.  However currently, less than 1% of visuals feature Gen Alpha taking part in environmental activities. For this reason, it is worth considering inclusive visuals that show Gen Alpha learning and taking part in different ways to care for the planet.  
Well‑Connected to Technology 
Gen Alpha are exposed to screens at an incredibly early age, more than any other generation. Smartphones are one of many devices that are easier to access than ever before. 65% of kids aged 8 to 11 own or have access to a mobile phone at home.4 They are often fluent in digital learning and the gamification of learning. Getty Images’ VisualGPS research reveals that for their parents' generations, over half of Millennials and Gen X believe that personalized tech brings pleasure and convenience to their life, and 40% feel empowered by all the technology available to them.  
Media consumption is part of our everyday lives, which impacts childrens' attention spans and instant enjoyment. With busy lives, balancing work and families, shopping online equals convenience for Millennial parents. Voice‑based communication has already become prevalent. We already live in a world where Alexa, Siri or Google Assistant have become widely used within family homes. As Gen Alpha becomes tomorrow's consumers, voice control will no longer be a “fringe” behavior, it will become a primary way of interacting with the world.  
Digital finance is already on the rise with Gen Alpha: they are investing online, using apps to manage both money and chores with parent approval. Most online banks offer an all‑in‑one money management platform purpose‑built for families, complete with a debit card and app.5 Because they can be introduced to these tools at an early age, Gen Alpha is a generation unafraid of money: making it, spending it, investing it, and budgeting. When visualizing Gen Alpha connecting to tech, it is important to explore different age groups who show independence, but only 5% of visuals in 2021 show children of all age groups independently interacting in home learning.  
Building Trust 
Transparency in business practices will help build trust with Gen Alpha as they age into consumers. 28% of children are more likely to be influenced by other people such as friends, who have the greatest impact on their purchase decisions, even compared to social media influencers (25%). 6 Although a real‑time example of the influence of social media is Ryan Kaji, the 10‑year‑old star of Ryan’s World, one of the most successful YouTube channels on the platform. The main reason for Ryan’s success is brand deals and sponsorships.7 

This unique consumer identity will also be shaped through products purchased by their parents and relatives. Brands are turning to other parents to wean the next generation of consumers. 61% of visuals show children with parents where the parents are the consumers, not the children. If a child is shown in any context of consumerism, it is more of a trip with their parents to the supermarket. Consider visual stories that focus on Gen Alphas and their parents as consumers and show the emotional rewards of engaging with products and services. Brands and marketers should focus on real life scenarios, like shopping trips with parents and children selecting the goods together, showing the child purchasing goods at the checkout, or shopping safely online.
[1] Gen Z and Gen Alpha Infographic Update (McCrindle)
[2] Birth Characteristics in England and Wales: 2020 (ONS)
[3] The Future's Bright: The Future's Gen Alpha (Beano)
[4] Kids these days (GWI)
[5] Meet Leo: Gen Alpha (Fintech Futures)
[6] Generation Alpha: Preparing for the future consumer (Wunderman Thompson)
[7] Digital Studio Pocket: Watch Builds Kids’ Biz on YouTube Stars (Variety)

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