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Understanding Gen Alpha and their Future Impact on Business

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Gen Alpha will be the largest generation ever with the biggest spending power, according to a new report by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services.

Meet Gen Alpha. They are the children of millennials, starting to turn 13 but still being born, and will be the largest generation ever with the biggest spending power. They are a generation that will not know a world without AI, gaming, AR and streaming.

While very little research has previously been published about this demographic age group, a new briefing paper by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, sponsored by design and innovation consultancy, Journey, sheds light on Gen Alpha, and how they are changing work, education, entertainment and beyond.

Gen Alpha will not know a world without AI, gaming, AR and Streaming.

Cathy Hackl, Journey’s Chief Futurist and tech pioneer explains for Gen Alpha, their reality encompasses both the physical world and the virtual one. Gen Alpha is a generation of world builders and today’s flat internet experience just seems…old.

I wholeheartedly believe that the world’s next Coco Chanel is probably a 10-year-old girl designing skins in Roblox. My kids are all Gen Alpha. They are incredibly tech-savvy and they are very active both in the physical world, but they also feel extremely at home exploring video games, wearing virtual fashion and building experiences in virtual spaces. Gen Alpha kids are my best window into our future, says Cathy Hackl.

Gen Alpha is Anticipated to have the Greatest Spending Power

According to prior research from McCrindle Research, Gen Alpha is anticipated to be the largest generation yet with roughly 2.5 billion people by 2024, and is expected to have the greatest spending power in history.

Born between 2010 and 2024, they are the first generation to be raised in a world where artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and gaming will be ubiquitous and are the most technologically adept cohort yet. Estimates indicate that they will also account for 10% of the workforce by 2030.

“Companies should now be exploring the best ways to combine the virtual and physical worlds of their products and services in order to cater to Gen Alpha, who are expected to be the most technologically savvy generation to date.” said Alex Clemente, managing director, Harvard Business Review Analytic Services.

Gen Alpha is still relatively unknown to business executives and organizations who want their companies to remain culturally relevant and plan for the future.

This generation will live in a time of massively accelerated digital transformation and their impact is yet to be fully understood and seen, but it will reverberate across the globe.

The briefing paper includes insights from industry experts and executive interviews with Journey clients such as Legoland and Walmart.

Key Report Findings on Gen Alpha

Some of the briefing paper’s key original qualitative findings include:

  • For Gen Alpha, gaming is becoming their new social network.
  • While their older Gen Z siblings or cousins are content creators, Gen Alpha are becoming world builders.
  • Companies, organizations, and even cities are starting to think about the services that they offer to cater to this new generation.
  • Some of Gen Alpha will work in entirely new jobs that don’t exist yet.
  • Gen Alpha will be the generation that will grow up using spatial computing in the same way that older Millennials were the first cohort to use mobile devices and social media.
  • Companies, institutions, and organizations who fail to embrace new technology and platforms today risk being left behind in what will likely be a new era of commerce and engagement, where virtual experiences and digital identities are just as important as physical ones.
  • Gen Alpha will expect brands to be innovative and technologically advanced, and that will apply to their work experience, as well.
  • Content, experiences, socializing, and commerce will be increasingly more blended than ever before as this generation is very comfortable moving between their physical and virtual lives.

This new generation will not know life without AI, AR, streaming, and gaming, and not only will this impact Gen Alpha’s approach to school and work, but also how they socialize with their friends and family, and how and what they spend their money on.

For more information download The Business Case for Understanding Generation Alpha briefing paper from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services.

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