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.
Are you looking for more big ideas, trends and career tips?
John Fawkes says
I’m not so sure you’re right about number 3, regarding internet use hurting people’s social skills. Here’s another possibility- as telecommunications start taking the form of lifelike virtual reality setups, communicating primarily from a distance will no longer be such a hindrance to people’s social skills. It’ll largely feel the same as interacting in person.
At least, that’s a possibility for 10-20 years from now. There almost certainly will be a period of getting worse before it gets better.
Jamichael Mitchell says
This post is spot on. I definitely agree that they’ll be much more educated than generations before (as it’s always been, yet, the difference between their generation and the one before will be huge). However, Fawkes comment concerning number 3 is a possibility too.
This generation has started their school journey! I have a class of 5 year olds who are, developmentally, all of the above. An interesting read. Thank you.
Leon Gower says
By this account, Gen Alpha will also be the first generation in history to not rebel against the trends of the past. Just fall in line with the flow of life. I doubt it, more likely they’ll be complacent with technology and seek a world free from the internet. They will fail to understand our fascination for online communication and like every generation “seek to change the world”.
I’d expect them to look at “selfies” as madness and behave much like the Mature/Silent generation. Spend big, party hard, keep a job for life.
They’ll be truth seekers at a whole new level and that means flesh over digital.
I admire your optimism – at least that’s how I see your comment.
That said, it doesn’t seem as realistic because we’re so focused on Generation Z’s rebellion. However, I can see how smart young Z’s and the Alphas are becoming because of technology, and yes, when I see it like that, there is a lot of hope that they will reach forth to break free of this suoer-dependence from certain technology, and learn how to live again like the previous generations.
I am a Generation Z person (born in 2001). I love computers, but absolutley hate the idea of AI Robots doing stuff for people or grabbing info for no reason (for an example, “Sophia from Hanson Robotics”). I have heard that the next generation would be focused on robots doing stuff for people and nobody will be doing things on their own or that just might be 20 years from now, but still hate the idea. I know I won’t be buying a robot at least for a very very long time.
P.S. I would like to be a PC Technician, Computer Analysts, or a Computer Programmer when I am older).
That was I was thinking. That would be the only way they could rebel against their millennial and Gen Z parents, by rejecting internet technology and embrace the real world. They would see their parent’s noses buried in their phones and they’d be trying to get them to see what’s in front of them, but they’d probably brush them off.
As for 2, I think Generation Z already accomplished not knowing a world without social networking.
I guess I’m the rare gen z’er that for about 4 or 5 years of my life, lived in a world in such a small town without social networking…
I’m afraid the only positive thing about Obama care is not having it at all.
Also, it should be admitted that the Internet social media is in fact hurting more than helping our ways of face-to-face interactions. Family dinners aren’t needed anymore, parents don’t have to be home every week or month, and honestly, the video game and movie-crave movements combined with the surround sound systems have crippled out abilities to experience the fresh air of life.
With these at out fingertips, Generations Y & Z are constantly asking the question, “What’s the point of going outside and doing anything when I have this?” Social media may be positive in some aspects, but a majority of society does not know about or exercise temperance.
altho what you say may be true…I as a Generation Z member feel the need to point out that… The outside is boring and serves no real purpose… if your gonna “play outside” your still going to be wasting your time its just more boring
You may not understand the importance of being outside, and in nature, yet but I hope you will. We need the sun to have a healthy body, much like plants.
When we’re indoors we have artificial light, much of it blue, which plays havoc with our circadian rhythm and is very bad for our eyes, which is why so many young people are short sighted and will have macular degeneration at a very young age, something that was not even really known about 100 years ago and even when it was discovered, around the 1930’s, only ever happened to elderly people. Get some orange/yellow glasses ASAP.
You should check out EMFs, we can’t see them but they really aren’t good for us. Smart meters and 5G are really bad for us, something that will be contested for a very long time, much like cigarettes and asbestos were, but they are much worse. 5G messes with our DNA and who knows what chaos it will cause in our bodies?
Just think about the explosion of diseases, you might be surprised to hear that many of these diseases weren’t such a big problem just 50 years ago. I would encourage you to ask as many questions as you can as to why? Gluten and dairy intolerance wasn’t heard of when I was a child, type 2 diabetes was only for elderly people and Alzheimer’s wasn’t as common either, what’s changed?
All I’m saying is to ask questions and find out for yourself why being out in nature is good for you…. look into Grounding/Earthing and why it’s good for you, especially when most of us are surrounded by so many electrical appliances. Look at why it’s very bad to have your head (while sleeping) against a wall that has a fridge the other side of it. Look at what plastic is doing to us and why it’s not only bad for us, it’s also bad for animals and the environment. Look at what’s in our food, bad fats, loaded with sugar and processed the h**l out of. Look at why vegetables and fruits are good for us and why ‘food’ that has ingredients in that we can’t understand is bad for us.
There are so many things we don’t know, we shouldn’t be trusting that the people who sell to us have our best interests at heart, they don’t, they only care about the bottom line.
Sorry I’ve ranted, a lot, I didn’t intend for it to be a lecture, I just hope it makes you start to ask more questions and not be so trusting.
Dabe A. bowers says
but im all these things and im a z..er? z person? zer ya zer
Catherine Alvarez says
Obama Care will be obsolete for them! Thank goodness for the other generations! It never worked for all Americans! So that was a poor example on healthcare.
A technology raised generation, with possibly very little to no genuine physical interaction with others. Independent for sure, but at what expense?
Aleem Ansari says
There learning capabilities will be limited , dependent on internet, lacking in physical work.
and yet at the same time they will be able to achieve much more…Why does the meaning of life have to be working till you decide your old enough to just stuff yourself somewhere and wait to die?
I hope you do achieve more, the world is relying on you guys to do a much better job than the oldies, who are just messing everything up and leaving it all to you to put right.
I despair at what’s going on, I was born in the 60’s and I’ve seen everything going from bad to worse, they really don’t care about the mess they’re leaving for you guys to clear up. We should all be ashamed of ourselves, but we’re not, we’re happy to just carry on ignoring what’s going on and know that we won’t be around to pick up the pieces.
I’m not one of the people you speak of in your comment above, I’m constantly leaning and really hope to contribute to making our world a better place for everyone who comes after me.
I hope you do discover your meaning of life.
I don’t know about the internet use hurting people’s social skills thing because i’m a millennial/Gen Z but I socialize (in my opinion) VERY well and completely fine. And so do my peers despite how often we use technology.
Syeda Rizvi says
Enjoyable reading and extremely informative. I have 4 grand children that fall into the generation Alpha category
I fully agree on statement 3 as even the older generations are spending less time talking in person.