We ran out of alphabet to name generations, so the newest one coming up is starting over. “Generation Alpha” are the children of Millennials and the grandchildren of Boomers. They are classified as the babies, toddlers and kids born after 2010 and today number 20 million.
Marketers and futurists have put forth various predictions to one day sell them computers, soap and shoes, which I find a bit silly at this stage. Some of the ideas are really out there, like transportation in driver-less flying cars, objectless communication (no more cell phones, you just yell at the atmosphere), and floating on air to sleep (no beds).
In my world of sales and attendance projections for cities, developers, entertainment, retail and new attractions, we adopt pragmatic formulas based on data collection. But I also find it most useful to examine the traits of the generation that went before, and then assume they will do the opposite!
As background, here are the population numbers and some of the major traits of today’s generations:Each one is unique and very different from the one before it.
Think about it for a minute: What did you do to be your own person? If you are a Boomer, you burned your bra, put flowers in your hair, smoked dope, held rallies for free speech, marched on Selma Alabama, and dodged the draft. You were a free spirit, no rules, except “ turn on, tune in, drop out”. Our mores were a bit out there. Sleeping with someone? Sure, just do it ‘cause it feels good. No Aids or other scary concerns. “Never trust anyone over 30” was our cry, until we reached 30, and then it all changed.
We raised a generation that is very different than their parents, us Boomers. They are thoughtful. They save money. Their kids are on schedules for feeding and sleeping. monitored 24/7 with cameras, and cell phones. These parents of young babies redefine “helicopter parenting”. To be fair, some of this parenting is due to technological advances, which were’t available to the Boomer generation.
Remember how we parented? Feed them when their hungry, let them sleep when they’re tired and never-ever make them do something to which they strongly object. Millennials child-rearing is more like Boomer’s parents, the people we objected to and whose rules we broke.
So what’s the take-away based on “prior generation rebellion” logic? That this new generation may be rebels. Granted they will be the most educated generation ever, they will be astute learners, they will write code on their digital devices by the time they are 7. But will they smoke dope, drink beer, let their hair grow and wear flowy dresses and shirts, stage love-ins? Probably not, because they will find their own unique way to live .
Some Future Behaviors We Hope Don’t Happen:
Technological advances may affect these kids’ personalities, communication skills and emotional health.
For sure, they will be able to operate digital devices before they can read and write. They may prefer to watch other children playing with toys (on video screens) rather than actually playing with the toys . Predictions put their screen time a 7 hours a day!
They will be able to shop, learn, and entertain themselves without talking to another human being.
They may be able to go to school online, which I can’t image a parent wanting! They will be home 24 hours a day! No, no, no, that can’t happen. But it could.
Dating may come via an app and that could be the norm. With sites like Bumble, Tinder, and Plenty of Fish, these kids will have a multitude of opportunities to meet, without ever looking a person in the eye. Hopefully, they will eventually get out of their bedrooms and go on a real date with a real person at a real movie or restaurant or skating rink.
To sell to them someday, marketers will need to understand their hearts and minds, their motivation, wants and needs. We will need to watch them closely as they grow up.
Let us know what you think, what your experience is, where you see this new generation headed. We love your feedback.
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