From Digital Playgrounds to Brand Ambassadors: Understanding Gen Alpha

June 28, 2024by Hiebing

Over the past five years, our Insights team developed proprietary research into the older half of Generation Z, which we’ve named “Elder Z.” This generation has since been widely researched and is a frequent topic of conversation in corporate boardrooms and beyond. While we continue to evolve our understanding of this cohort, we wanted to get a head start on also understanding the next generation that will emerge. From presentations and research over the last several months, we’ve been able to better understand Generation Alpha.  
Aptly named, Generation Alpha—born between 2013 and 2024—is the first generation in recent memory born entirely in a new century. Beginning in the same year the first iPad was released and Instagram was launched, this generation is poised to grow up as the most connected and diverse population in history. As the children of millennials, arguably the pioneers of internet culture as we know it, Gen Alpha has the advantage of parents who have a positive outlook on the power of technology and understand the culture they are being shaped by. Growing up alongside rapid technological advancement with the internet as their playground, Gen Alpha has the distinct ability to leverage their digital literacy into influence with their millennial parents, who are likely to listen to their wants and encourage this type of independence. In fact, 46% of this generation are already actively influencing their parents in brand and purchase decisions when it comes to food and snacks. Over half of this cohort have an active say in family vacations and activities.  
With this much influential authority this early in the game, brands need to heed the potential purchase power this group may soon hold. Gen Alpha is poised to become the largest generation in history, projected to reach 2.2 billion by 2025, outnumbering the Baby Boomer gen according to McCrindle Research Pty Ltd. While this cohort is currently still in grade school, they will be hitting adulthood by the mid-2030s and their vast purchasing power will be up for grabs.  

To reach this segment effectively later, marketers must take time to lay the foundation and get to know the diverse and large cohort Gen Alpha is becoming today.  

Digital Natives Vs. Digital First Gen 

While there is an extensive lineup of common experiences between Gen Z and Gen Alpha, these two generations are set to be distinctly different with their digital footprints. Brands can avoid future Gen Alpha pitfalls by understanding that the decline in novelty of digital spaces for this cohort is far more powerful than it is in their Gen Z counterparts. This group is empowered by tech, not dependent on it. Having been surrounded by tech since birth, Generation Alpha is far more likely to unplug than their Gen Z counterparts. 

Gen Alpha’s digital literacy will surpass both millennials and Gen Z, but exposure to screens at such a young age is causing a deviation from previous generations on the importance of digital-only spaces. Gen Alphas value doing things outside and use technology less as their main source of socialization. This is in stark difference to Gen Z, who felt a stronger connection to digitally exclusive spaces as their primary socialization tool.  
Instead, Gen Alpha views social media as their window into an evolving world and a way to let their creativity thrive. Because of their attuned attitudes to social spaces, effectively reaching this audience digitally will require careful planning—meaning just having a presence in these spaces is no longer enough. Connecting authentically to foster genuine engagement with this group requires brands to prioritize interactive and immersive content that ignites curiosity and sparks creativity.  

Gaming Is Social and Educational  

For Gen Alpha, gaming goes beyond just a hobby—it serves as a digital playground, a way for this cohort to socialize with peers from all around the world. Playing with their friends instead of playing alone is far more common for Generation Alpha during formative years, leading to more adaptive soft skills like strong collaboration to solve critical problems. Games like Roblox, Minecraft and Fortnite further enhance this kind of teamwork, community and adaptability due to the immersive social experiences as primary functions of the gameplay. In fact, community building around games is so strong within this cohort that it fuels engagement cycles beyond the game. Gaming communities and watching streamers for current trends in gameplay are a part of daily life and identity for Gen Alpha. Content shared among their peers is largely focused and revolves around the online cultures built within these communities.  

Gaming is also educational for this generation, with many of the games they engage in designed to strengthen cognitive skills, problem-solving abilities and subject-specific knowledge. The socialization aspect enhances learning through play in a way that is natural and effective for developing critical thinking skills. With the integration of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) in gaming, social friendships formed in gaming environments experience a deeper level of immersion, collaboration and creativity. 

Preparing for Future Careers 

As Gen Alpha continues to mature, their profound digital literacy positions them as future leaders in AI and related fields. As they begin to explore possible careers, new jobs in the market will emerge, centered around nanotech, cybersecurity, building blockchains and leveraging AI in spaces like transportation, virtual reality and beyond. While the jobs of the future will be centered around technological advances, this culturally diverse demographic will drive contributions to the evolution and connectivity of the global community with greater efficiency, adaptability and creativity.  
Gen Alpha will be lifelong learners, seamlessly navigating multiple jobs across diverse careers. For marketers, this means they will be an adaptive audience, constantly seeking opportunities for upskilling and retraining to stay relevant in an ever-evolving job market. Understanding and catering to their need for continuous learning and growth will be crucial for brands looking to engage this dynamic and forward-thinking generation. 

As Generation Alpha emerges, their potential impact on consumer trends and brand influence cannot be overstated. Growing up amid unprecedented technological advancements gives them an advantage in wielding influence over family purchasing decisions and becoming a pivotal market force. By investing in understanding and catering to Generation Alpha’s evolving needs and expectations, brands can position themselves to thrive in an increasingly competitive marketplace driven by the next generation of consumers. 

Wondering how to set your brand up for success with Generation Alpha? Email Nate Tredinnick at to set up a call.  

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