The consumers of tomorrow will think in a fundamentally different way to any generation before them and brands will need to approach them in a different way, according to a new study.
The next generation of consumers will be upon us before we know it and they’ll be known as Generation Alpha. It’s a term coined by social researcher Mark McCrindle to describe the cohort of people born from the year 2010 onwards, and the way technology permeates every aspect of their lives means they’ll think, live and play in a dramatically different way to generations before.
The Hotwire Understanding Generation Alpha report, in partnership with Wired Consulting explores what will make Generation Alpha tick – everything from how they’ll think to how they’ll interact with their homes around them.
The findings reveal that it’s a generation who will be more comfortable with technology than any before them, but also that their relationship with technology has the potential to radically rewire how their brains work and the way they view the world.
Key findings from the report include:
- The importance of voice technology – voice will be as natural an input as touch for Generation Alpha – they will expect devices to respond to voice commands
- The screen time debate will rage on – for a generation raised with technology, there may be no such thing as too much screen time. Experts disagree on the impact this will have on mental health and wellbeing, but stress the debate is not about the technology, but how it’s used
- The internet of toys is coming – connected toys will become the norm and this will lead to children expecting toys to not only respond to their commands, but to show emotional intelligence of their own
According to Tom Upchurch, Head of Wired Consulting, the launch of this report couldn’t be timelier: “We’re entering an age where there is a discernible gap emerging between older and younger generations and their experience of technology. It’s influencing habits, attitudes and even fundamental cognitive abilities. This new environment will need to be collaboratively designed by parents, educational institutions, digital designers and the youngest members of our society – to help ensure that this digital future is empowering, rather than impoverishing, this new generation.”
In order to succeed with this new generation of consumers, brands need to be more subtle in the way they communicate with Generation Alpha. Brands need to talk to Generation Alpha on Generation Alpha’s terms, and focus on helping them at their point of need – fulfilling a request or helping them solve a problem. This isn’t an audience who will see an ad or product review and then act on it at a later date, instead they’ll look for information when they need it, forcing brands to adopt a reactive approach.
Emma Hazan, Global Head of Consumer, Hotwire, comments: “In order to reach Generation Alpha, brands must build emotional connections over time in order to survive. If you’re not seen as meaningful to this audience, then you might as well not exist. We commissioned this report now to ensure we can help our client’s futureproof their businesses, so they win at ensuring comms are targeted to this unique audience demographic.”
“Proactive communications will have to change to entertain people in a memorable way and keep them coming back for more,” Hazan continued. “We must focus on tightly targeted placement of our reactive communications so we make an impact when Generation Alpha needs answers – the winners will be those that can be persuasive yet concise and importantly, be the most visible on Google.”
To download and read the full report visit: http://www.wired.co.uk/article/understanding-generation-alpha
Contributors to the report include:
Pioneer in brain plasticity.
Researcher and author on how technology affects development.
Jean Twenge, San Diego State University
Researcher and author of new book iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy–and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood–and What That Means for the Rest of Us.
Patti Valkenburg, University of Amsterdam
Professor of media, youth and society. Author of Plugged In: How Media Attract and Affect Youth, which came out this year.
Hannah Broadbent, Deputy CEO, Childnet
Childnet aims to find out how children use the internet and equip them to engage with it safely.
Bethany Koby, cofounder and CEO, Technology Will Save Us
TWSU makes do-it-yourself kits for children to build their own technology toys and digital gadgets.
Yvonne Rogers, Director, UCL Interaction Centre
Professor of interactions design and director of the UCL Interaction Centre.
Stefania Druga and Randi Williams
Researcher at MIT’s Media Lab who recently did a study on how children respond to AI devices, such as Amazon Echo and Google Home.
Mark Palatucci, Anki,
Cofounder and Chief Product Officer at Anki, which makes intelligent toys such as autonomous robot Cozmo. Anki’s aim is to bring personality into consumer devices.
Birk Rawlings, DreamWorks TV (AwesomenessTV),
Head of DreamWorksTV at AwesomenessTV – which creates video entertainment for Generation Alpha and has more Youtube subscribers than Disney.
Andrew Stephen, Said Business School
One of the world’s leading academic marketing experts, with a particular emphasis on issues that lie at the intersection of marketing and technology.