First came the Boomers, then Gen X, then Y (also known as millennials), then Gen Z ... and what happens, exactly, when we’ve run out of letters?
We get Generation Alpha, the tech-savvy, highly-educated kids of millennials that marketers and advertisers are already watching thanks to their potential spending power.
Not bad for a generation whose oldest members are in Grade 4 and youngest are the unborn.
“(Generation Alpha) will be the most formally educated generation ever, the most technology-supplied generation ever, and globally the wealthiest generation ever,” Mark McCrindle, a social researcher in Australia who coined the phrase, previously told the New York Times.
WATCH: The upsides of screen time. Story continues below.
Good work, millennials. We might not be able to buy a house or retire before age 80, but damn if we’re not raising great kids!
So, our children have a title, but what else is there to know about Generation Alpha?
Who exactly belongs to Generation Alpha?
They’re the generation born after Generation Z (those born between 1996 and 2010), and largely the kids of millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996).
McCrindle defines Generation Alpha as those born from 2010 to 2025. A.k.a., the oldest are nine years old, the youngest have yet to be born, and all current babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers are lumped in.
More than 2.5 million Alphas are born every week around the world, McCrindle notes, and by 2025 they are estimated to number two billion.
Prince George? Alpha (ditto with his siblings and cousin Archie). The wee Kardashian kids? Alphas. Emma the biter from playgroup? Alpha.
What defines them? Tech
Alphas are the first generation to spend their entire life fully immersed in technology. 2010 was the same year the iPad was first released, that Instagram was born, and that “app” was word of the year, McCrindle noted.
“[They] have been raised as screenagers to a greater extent than the fixed screens of the past could facilitate,” he previously told HuffPost.
“They are the most materially endowed and technologically literate generation to ever grace the planet!” he wrote in a blog post.
This generation will also be shaped by the experience of Artificial Intelligence (AI), according to Hotwire and Wired Consulting’s recent report “Understanding Generation Alpha.” In fact, some AI devices and toys are specifically aimed at Generation Alpha, the report explains, such as Hello Barbie and Hatchimals.
Check out the top toys of 2019. Story continues below slideshow.
Top Toys 2019
All this makes these young kids critical to marketers, according to AdAge, which notes that brands like Fitbit, Crest and Walgreens, are “already honing their Alpha strategies.”
“The tables are turning and the kids are the decision-makers, or at least a very powerful influencer,” Emma Hazan of Hotwire told AdAge.
What’s it like to be raised by millennials?
The kids might be all right but they’re being raised by a generation defined by instability: in housing, jobs, and finances. For instance, a 2019 report found that 62 per cent of millennials are living paycheque to paycheque.
“This generation of children will be shaped in households that move more frequently, change careers more often and increasingly live in urban, not just suburban, environments,” McCrindle told HuffPost U.S.
They’ll also have the largest share than any previous generation spending their formative years in “living arrangements that do not include both of their biological parents,” demographer Elwood Carlson told HuffPost U.S.
But it’s not all bad. Generation Alpha will also be defined by its racial diversity and acceptance. And, as more parents choose to have just one kid, they could have more resources — including extended post-secondary education — available to them.
Plus, according to accounting firm Grant Thornton, this generation is being raised by parents who believe being a good parent and having a solid marriage is more important than a high-paying career. And those are great values.
More fun facts about Generation Alpha
- Most popular boys names: Oliver, William, Jack, Noah, Jackson
- Most popular girls names: Charlotte, Olivia, Ava, Emily and Mia (both of these according to McCrindle’s blog)
- Some are already “influencers,” like Ryan of Ryan’s World, one of YouTube’s most popular channels
- They’re expected to be the longest-living generation and the wealthiest, according to accounting firm Grant Thornton
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