Today, the different terms that are applied to the various generations are everyday parlance, being used across social media and in everyday life, and not just by merchants. What’s more, each of these terms seems to say something about the specific generation to which it refers.
We’re accustomed, for example, to labelling those born amid the temporary post-World War II spike in birth rates as ‘Baby Boomers’. Then, there are the ‘Millennials’, who were born from around the early 1980s onwards, coming of age in a world scarred by international terrorism and the late 2000s economic slowdown.
More recently, many analysts and marketers have talked excitedly about Generation Z, the cohort born between 1996 and 2010. This generation’s other nicknames – such as ‘Digital Natives’ and the ‘iGeneration’ – signals that this is the demographic that can scarcely remember a world without the Internet, social media and other highly intuitive, at-their-fingertips technology.
The origins of a name
Now, given that even the oldest members of Generation Z are still only in their early twenties, with the youngest yet to leave primary school, it might initially seem premature to start thinking about what – or rather, who – comes after this highly tech-proficient cohort.
One man who doesn’t buy into that way of thinking is the futurist, social researcher and TEDx speaker, Mark McCrindle. As early as 2005, his group was overseeing a national survey in Australia, asking respondents to devise a name for the generation following Generation Z.
The name that they settled on – ‘Generation Alpha’ – solved the quandary of what to dub a cohort once the obvious letters of the alphabet run out. It also served as homage to the tendency of scientific disciplines, such as meteorology, to switch to the Greek alphabet once Arabic numerals or the Roman alphabet are exhausted.
But with the term ‘Generation Alpha’ now beginning to stick over such other possible monikers as ‘Net Gen’ and ‘Gen Tech’, it isn’t necessarily what this generation is called that most fascinates many observers, but instead the considerable clout these youngsters already wield.
Not just the ‘next’ generation, but one now shaping the world
With McCrindle having defined everyone born between 2011 and 2025 as belonging to the ‘Alphas’, you might be wondering how a generation of people who largely haven’t even emerged from the womb yet, could possibly be well underway with remaking the world in their own image.
That may seem a fair assessment. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that this generation already has some famous names among its number – including Prince George of Cambridge, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s son Archie, and North West, the daughter of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West.
This is to say nothing of the many children of Millennials who already have a digital footprint before a physical one, due to the online presence their parents have given them in tweets and Facebook photos and videos. It is in this latter role that Alphas are already helping to shift the world, by serving as an influence on their parents’ buying and ethical decisions.
As a result, many of the defining characteristics of this cohort’s members are already clear. They include a level of immersion in technology that even Generation Z could have never countenanced at the same age, as well as a tendency to learn in a more visual and interactive manner than the structured and often auditory approach to which previous generations were accustomed.
So, how should your brand ready itself for Generation Alpha?
The Prince Georges and Archies of this world – not to mention Blue Ivy Carter, Silas Randall Timberlake and other noted Alphas – aren’t exactly wielding credit cards of their own yet.
However, even this generation’s less famous members are already often highly aware of how they are perceived by the wider world. That is all the more the case given that this is the first generation to have grown up entirely during the social media age, often being given a public profile by their parents before they knew what one was.
Another thing that Alphas are certainly highly acquainted with, is an excellent online user experience. No prior generation has been exposed to such a wide variety of sophisticated and intuitive digital platforms from practically the moment they were born – and this is set to exert considerable influence on their expectations of truly seamless, personalised and interactive online experiences, well into adult life.
Yes, there is still much for us to learn about Generation Alpha and how they will transform the web design, ecommerce and digital marketing landscapes that preceding cohorts built. But one thing is for sure; this age category has all the makings of possibly the most influential generation we will have yet seen. That’s something that ought to influence how you work with your chosen agency for Shopify conversion rate optimisation and ecommerce design and build, even in 2020.
Contact the Underwaterpistol team today to begin to discuss with us the next steps to take to unlock the potential that Generation Alpha might offer for your brand’s ongoing growth.