Date Published (5.28.24)
Read Time 0 Min
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This is a three-part series from BASIC/DEPT® that explores the impact of world events on the shopping behaviors of Generation Alpha – and how brands can reach them.

  • Applied
Gen Alpha, the beta test for how brands can reach a new generation

Vietnam War-era babies might not like the idea of government – or camouflage, military-style apparel. Likewise, the 1960s women’s rights movements compelled clothing brands to rethink fashion for a new female shopper.

Millennials entered the labor market during the Great Recession. They watched the housing market collapse and foreclosures spike among parents. Now, as Millennials become first-time homeowners, they are more averse to financial risk than previous generations.

The internet killed any motivation for good handwriting.

WTF does this have in common? The world in which you were born influences your tendencies. Your personal shopping behaviors, as erratic and downright bizarre as they may sometimes seem, often fit into patterns of consumerism for your particular generation. We are literal products of our environment.

Brands need to ask: how are the behaviors of tomorrow’s shopper influenced by recent world events?

Born between 2010 and 2024, Generation Alpha is shaping brand visions, tactics, and trajectories. Mark McCrindle, a social-researcher, coined the term in 2008. They are the first to be born entirely in the 21st century and third millennium. Before them, there was Gen Z — final letter in the Latin alphabet. Alpha is the first letter of an entirely new Greek language

His team estimates that by 2029, their economic footprint will be a whopping $5.5 trillion. Half a quadrillion. It sounds fake.

Alphas are exposed to major world events at earlier ages. They were born as the world emerged from a major recession and are now forming opinions during historic levels of market volatility. On top of it all, imagine navigating puberty during one of the worst pandemics in history.

The Silent Generation (1925-1945) and their children, the Baby Boomers (1946-1964), witnessed the commercialization of flights. Alphas are already traveling without a living, breathing driver – a new wave of transportation led by autonomous vehicles.

Millennials (1981-1996) spent part of their youth without the internet, then brands all of a sudden experimented with social media influencers to sway sentiment. It’s familiar territory for Alphas, the largest percentage of content creators; in a way, their creation is a reclaiming of power from influencers. Alphas are not the passive observers of previous generations. Virtual reality is spilling into their living rooms. AI is just beginning.

Literal once-in-a-generation events are uniquely impacting Alpha shopping behaviors. In our second article, we will be looking at three milestones: the iPad launch, the content creation craze, and Covid. Our third and final installment will explain how companies can reach Alphas. Stay tuned.

Behind the Byline: Noah Jackson & Marc Weinreich

  • Noah is a Senior Strategist at BASIC/DEPT® who focuses on finding culturally meaningful solutions to brand problems. Beginning his career as a journalist, he long operated as a music industry jack of all trades, crafting social, content, and marketing strategies for artists including Grimes, A$AP Rocky, and Anderson .Paak. Prior to BASIC/DEPT®, he headed the strategy department at Premier Music Group, where he oversaw Cannes Lion, Webby, and Shorty Award-winning projects. He enjoys trying TikTok recipes and making playlists.
  • Marc Weinreich is the Copy Lead at BASIC/DEPT®, overseeing the narrative arc for clients' digital platforms. Weinreich's client work has included Google, Docusign, AT&T, and others. His contributions to the thought leadership platform, Applied®, has focused on ecommerce through a futurist lens.


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