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What marketers need to know about Gen Alpha

The number of Gen Alphas is expected to reach 2.2 billion by 2024, according to marketing agency Razorfish. These are the children of millennials and Gen Zers and are the most digitally native, purpose-driven generation so far.

Here are a few things marketers need to know as this generation grows from children to full-fledged consumers.

Not a mini Gen Z: It’s dangerous to think of Gen Alphas as a younger version of Gen Zers because they are very different in a few ways, said Dani Mariano, president of Razorfish.

Gen Alphas are more likely to value sharing their views and opinions with others, according to Razorfish data.

“At a very young age, they’re already thinking about the world,” said Mariano. “They want to be empowered. They want to have a voice and they’re gonna use that voice … Their expectations are very high.”

Another differentiator is how they manage their mental health.

Nearly three-quarters (74%) of Gen Alphas prefer to do things like go outside, exercise, or use technology less to manage their mental health, per Razorfish. Gen Z consumers prefer to practice self-care through pampering themselves, twice as much as Gen Alpha does.

Tech-empowered, not dependent: Part of the reason Gen Alphas are willing to put down the tech is because of how long they’ve been using it.

“Gen Alphas own devices from very early ages, and that continued usage has really stripped away the novelty of screens,” said Mariano.

This has given Gen Alphas a higher level of brand maturity at an earlier age, which will likely result in them holding brands to higher standards and accountability when they become adults.

These higher standards don’t just apply to the quality or integrity of products, but to the digital experience as well.

When asked about the mobile phone features they favor, Gen Alphas surveyed by Razorfish already had ideas of how smartphones could advance.

  • One 9-year-old boy suggested an automatic button on the side of iPhones that would connect the phone to other Apple products in the home or area.
  • Another imagined having a battery that would last a week and using it as a controller to play console games.

YouTube is king: Over half (51%) of Gen Alphas first hear about brands through YouTube videos, per Razorfish.

“Unlike generations before them who were consuming video content primarily on TV, Alphas are learning about brands from the creator content they are watching on YouTube,” said Mariano. “From unboxing videos to watching YouTubers play video games, Alphas seek and enjoy self-directed control over their content. They love the excitement that these types of videos provide and imagine themselves in these situations.”

The bottom line: Marketers who want to be on Gen Alpha’s radar need to remember three things.

  1. Gen Alpha is not Gen Z, and therefore brand messaging targeting Gen Alphas should be unique to what matters to them.
  2. The same old technology isn’t going to cut it. Brands need to think outside the box when it comes to digital experiences.
  3. If you aren’t on YouTube, you’re not on Gen Alpha’s radar.

This was originally featured in the eMarketer Daily newsletter. For more marketing insights, statistics, and trends, subscribe here.