The Next Frontier: Older Gen Alpha and Younger Gen Z
Are you effectively engaging the youngest – and most diverse – consumer segments in America?

September 23, 2022
Natalie Griffith – Director, Product & Content

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If not, then you’re not only missing out on forging a connection that will pay dividends for years to come, you also may be missing out on connecting with their parents, who control a sizeable portion of spending today. Keep reading to learn more about how Collage Group can help you better connect with older Gen Z, younger Gen Alpha, and their (mostly) Gen X and Millennial parents.

Read on and fill out the form for an excerpt from our
The Next Frontier: Older Gen Alpha and Younger Gen Z presentation.

There are currently more than 62 million American parents living with children under 18. These individuals constitute an outsized opportunity for brands as they’re making spending decisions for both themselves and their kids. As kids in America reach majority minority status, it’s becoming harder to know how to authentically connect with kids (and parents) of different cultural backgrounds.

To fully capture the attention of parents and kids today, organizations must learn to speak to and connect with this newest generation of families.

Collage Group’s Parents & Kids Program offers organizations the insights they need to fully understand today’s modern families and how they differ across race, ethnicity, and generation on important issues and topics, at both the consumer and category level. The fifth presentation in the Parents and Kids program, attached here as a webinar replay and PowerPoint, provides primary research on kids 6-12, as well as their parents. This research will ensure organizations appreciate the full picture of the modern American family.

Key Insight #1:Gen Alpha and Gen Z are the most racially and ethnically diverse cohorts of Americans to date. Gen Alpha is the first majority-minority generation, with only 48% of the cohort identifying as non-Hispanic White.

Context:

The increase in interracial and interethnic marriages over the past 50 years, steady immigration, and higher birthrates among multicultural women have led to an increasingly diverse population of younger Americans. In turn, the youth is coming of age surrounded by and expecting greater diversity in all aspects of life.

Action Steps:

    • Reflect America’s growing diversity in your advertising.
    • Start working now to win and build relationships with your future consumers by understanding how to best connect with culturally diverse Americans.

Key Insight #2: For kids today, standing out is the new fitting in. And differentiators have shifted too – kids view their mindsets as more differentiating than traditional markers like looks or skin color.

Context:

Kids today have grown up with diversity as the norm, so differences based on skin color or ethnicity do not stand out as strongly for them as they did for previous generations of kids. Instead, differentiators like mindset and interests are more prominent.

Action Steps:

    • Celebrate diversity along multiple facets – from interests to ethnicity

Key Insight #3: Today’s kids, especially girls, are eagerly pushing the boundaries and even rejecting the very premise of gendered play. This pushback goes well beyond the superficial elements such as packaging and shelf placement: Kids today firmly believe that toys are created for all.

Context:

The fact that young girls today are rejecting gender-based stereotypes in play is a logical extension of the decades’ long conversation around gendered roles and expectations. An incremental, yet powerful shift in higher education and in the workplace is erasing the lines between traditionally “gendered” careers. In popular culture, strong female-lead characters are defying the stereotype of a dainty damsel in distress. And many parents today deliberately choose to avoid such stereotyping. This shift  is both lauded by the voices promoting gender equality and derided by more conservative critics. 

Action Steps:

    • Manufacturers and retailers should watch this space closely. As kids increasingly perceive toys as gender-neutral and play with any toy they choose, brands that lean in can get first-mover advantage, especially if they can do so without getting political. But this privilege may come with a burden of some backlash, at least initially. To appeal to a broader customer base, consider offering several product line varieties or designing store layouts in a way that accommodates both mindsets.

Key Insight #4: Digital media, including on-demand streaming services, multiplayer video games, and social media platforms, dominate kids’ time and attention today. While parents continue to monitor and supervise their children’s online activity, Older Gen Alpha and Younger Gen Z are expertly and confidently navigating the digital world.

Context:

The unprecedented pace and breadth of tech innovation has allowed these digital natives to gain agency, serve their personal and collective interests (from hobbies to social causes), and amplify their voices. Peer-to-peer collaboration and connection, exposure to always-on surveillance and tracking, and a need to balance and reconcile the images they project online and in real life (IRL) will mark Gen Z and Gen Alpha segments’ relationship with people and technology for the foreseeable future.

Action Steps:

    • Meet these young consumers where they are. Where appropriate, use your digital platforms to amplify their voices.
    • Create consistent and coherent experiences across channels — both online and IRL.

Contact us at the form below to learn more about how you can gain access to these diverse consumer insights and much more in our Cultural Intelligence Platform.

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Other Recent Parents and Kids Research Articles and Insights from Collage Group

Natalie Griffith
Director, Product & Content

Natalie has over 10 years of experience in consumer insights and brand strategy, including 3+ years as lead researcher in Gartner Iconoculture’s Gen Z practice. Natalie has managed research projects across industries, including extensive work in financial services, media, technology, and food and beverage. Natalie holds a B.S. in Psychology from Tulane University.

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