NEWS22 November 2022

Adapt to Generation Alpha or ‘risk insignificance’, brands warned

AI News People Privacy Trends UK Youth

UK – Businesses that fail to understand Generation Alpha could “fade into irrelevance” with the generation set to be the largest and richest in history, according to Josephine Hansom, vice-president, youth, at Savanta.


Speaking at the launch event of Savanta’s youth practice last week, which followed Savanta’s acquisition of  youth research specialist YouthSight last year, Hansom said that Generation Alpha, broadly those born between 2010 and 2024, were already influencing purchasing and added that they were set to number 2.5 billion people.

Hansom said that Alpha would inherit much of the wealth accumulated by Baby Boomers, broadly those born between the end of World War Two and the mid-1960s, and were set to be the most educated, oldest and most technologically-savvy in history.

This would see radical changes to society, including the onset of artificial intelligence (AI), which Hansom added would mean that 65% of jobs held by Alpha do not currently exist.

“What we do know is that radical change is coming, and businesses that fail to understand these big changes and the largest generation ever to be on earth will fade into irrelevance and insignificance,” Hansom said.

Hansom said that Millennials, which will raise Alpha, were the “disappointed generation” and were therefore likely to focus on mental resilience in their parenting.

“In the 1990s, people were really looking to the UK for where things started,” she explained. “But then things changed: the Iraq War, 2008 global recession, 9/11, austerity.

“Millennials were told by their parents they could do anything – they had all these opportunities ahead of them and then had them taken away. They were then instantly labelled the ‘snowflake generation’, because those opportunities were taken away from them.”

Generation Z – those aged 13 to 25 – would be the major trendsetters for the next few years, Hansom added.

“For Generation Z, their starting point is distrust. Yes, I am talking about government and the powers that be, but also about growing up in the internet age,” she said.

“Gen Z are rewriting the rules. They are much more likely to agree with the statement that ‘the only person you can rely on is yourself’.”

Also speaking at the launch event, Anna Parker, consultant at Savanta, and Eleni Sharp, head of product at the BBC, discussed a project between the BBC and World Wide Web founder Sir Tim Berners-Lee about personal data stores (PDS).

A PDS is a digital wallet storing all of someone’s personal data and helps individuals to use and control access to their data online.

The BBC worked with Savanta in a four-stage research process consisting of five expert interviews, cognitive testing with 12 pairs of 16 to 35-year-olds, a 15-minute online survey with 1,000 16 to 35-year-olds and 500 36 to 65-year-olds, and a 10-day online community with interspersed focus groups and a live trial of the PDS.

Parker said: “What we saw is what we expected – a PDS appealed more to young people. It appealed to them because it gave this sense of having control over your data.”

The control and visibility of the data is the most important aspect for young people, as well as personalised recommendations, according to Parker.

“This research put power in the hands of young people to see how they felt and what data meant to them,” she added.

“Participants were learning something new and many of them had never thought this way about data before.”