Companies are starting to ask me about what generation comes after Generation Z and the answer is Generation Alpha. Every upcoming generation will be named based on the Greek alphabet. Gen Alpha are those born after 2011 and as of today, there are 20.8 million children under the age of four years old in America alone. In 2050, when the eldest Alphas turn 40, the population is predicted to reach 35 million. While marketers and human resources professionals aren’t even looking at the Alpha’s, I have a few predictions about how they will create opportunities and pose challengers to them. As with all generations, when and how they grow up impacts how they behave and the choices they make.
1. They will be the more entrepreneurial generation. Every generation from here on out will become more entrepreneurial than the next because they will have had more access to information, people and resources earlier in the life. We will see a lot of Alpha entrepreneurs starting companies before ten years old. As most will fail in their business pursuits, they will learn a lot and have much better luck as they get older. They will be more successful entrepreneurs because they will have had taken more risks earlier and had time to build reputations and relationships before millennials, Gen X’s and boomers did.
2. They will be the most tech savvy and not know a world without social networking. Alpha’s will be introduced to mobile phones before becoming teenagers and will take most of the technology we use today for granted. Their mobile phones will be so sophisticated when they become teenagers that they will primarily use their phone over a laptop or desktop computer. If you want to reach them from a marketing or recruiting perspective, you’ll have to have a mobile friendly website. They will gravitate to applications that are extremely easy to use and visual and expect everything to be customized to their needs.
3. They will primarily shop online and have less human contact than previous generations. Based on research I did a few years ago, students say that technology has hurt their soft skills – like communicating in person. Gen Alpha will be the most connected generation yet spend much less time talking to their peers in person. There will be clear psychological challenges with this generation as they will feel more alone, despite being so connected.
4. They will be extremely coddled and influenced by their Gen X and Y parents. Alpha’s could potentially have older parents because Gen Y’s are waiting longer to get married and have children. Gen Y’s were always made to feel special and that will carry onto Gen Z because how you were raised is how you raise your kids. Based on research I’ve done this year, every generation is now more influenced by their parents more than friends, strangers, etc. Gen Alpha will be no different so if you want to sell to them or hire them, their parents should be part of your marketing campaign.
5. They will be more self-sufficient, better educated and prepared for big challenges. Gen Alpha will have to take on many of the biggest challenges of the world, including global warming and the deficit. They won’t have social security or any safety nets, but will enjoy the benefits of healthcare (Obama Care). They will get more robust education through online learning earlier in life and they will be in the education system longer but also create their own way of learning. A percentage will avoid the higher education system in favor of cheaper (or free) online learning, while the wealthier families will be able to support their Alpha’s by investing in their education. The divide between rich and poor will become much more apparent with the Alpha generation.
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