Two phrases that were never in my lexicon before this week: ‘Generation Alpha’ and ‘pre-consumers’. Chances are, they are not words most of us have encountered. Regardless, they are important phrases for any businessperson to add to their vocabulary right now.

Generation Alpha is made up of the sophisticated youngsters born between 2011 and 2024. They are the pre-consumers that forward-thinking businesses are working very hard to figure out how to market to. These kids hold an unprecedented sway over ‘their’ adults’ purchasing decisions; far more than any previous generation. Not only are they pre-consumers; they are already family decision-makers.

The Gen Alphas are truly unique in their worldliness and brand awareness. At the ripe old age of 11, even the oldest Alphas won’t really remember a world without COVID-19, iPads, and Instagram — and the constant worry of climate change. Generation Alpha will comprise the largest generation in the history of the world: by 2025 when they all will have been born, they will number almost 2 billion. It’s easy to understand the importance of getting a handle on how best to market to and work with this new generation of pre-consumers today.

Mark McCrindle is an Australian social analyst who coined the term Generation Alpha. His book (Generation Alpha: Understanding Our Children and Helping Them Thrive; with Ashley Fell and Sam Buckerfield; Hatchette Australia; April 2021) focuses on the fact that by 2025 the Alphas will outnumber the Baby Boomers and what that means in light of their consumer habits and their role as influencers.

“They are very sophisticated,” McCrindle told U.S. news website Axios. “We can no longer design products for them and push the products at them. They want a seat at the table.”

He tells us that Alphas shape the social media landscape, are the popular culture influencers, and emerging consumers — and that by the end of this decade, they’ll be moving into the workforce and adulthood.

Globally, more than 2.5 million Alphas are born every week. These children have more material things at their fingertips than any generation in history. They are already the most technologically savvy generation ever. And they will enjoy a longer lifespan than any previous generation. It’s likely that they’ll spend more years in education, begin their work lives later, and possibly live with their parents even longer than their Gen Z and Gen Y predecessors.

As we approach the start of a fresh new year, with fresh new projects and plans, it might be wise to dedicate some time to thoughtful discussion about what the landscape of Generation Alpha will look like, and how we, as businesspeople will navigate it. Which parts of our businesses can we adjust in anticipation of the coming of the Alphas?

And with the upcoming holidays and time likely spent with extended family, we might all do well to take the littlest family members a bit more seriously this year.

It’s a great day in Emporia!

“Let’s Talk Business” is a weekly column of the Emporia Area Chamber of Commerce and Visit Emporia. The mission of the Chamber is to be proactive in creating an environment for business and community success, guided by the vision that positive attitudes promote positive actions. Contact us at 620-342-1600 or chamber@emporiakschamber.org and visit our website at www.emporiakschamber.org.

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