Insights Scoop

Gen Zalpha Tweens: Engage Free Time and State of Play to Accelerate Brand Loyalty

Tweens aged 8-12 are an important cohort, bridging the gap from childhood to teens. It’s this age range where kids begin to hone in on their identity and develop attitudes and preferences independent from their parents. How they spend their free time today will formatively shape them for years to come as consumers. And their parents play a large role in that. Today’s 8-12-year-olds are part of a ‘cusper’ generational cohort, comprised of the youngest of Gen Z and the oldest of Gen Alpha—unofficially dubbed “Gen Zalpha”—and they’re mainly the children of Millennials and Gen Xers. Brands must understand the unique needs and perspectives of parents and tweens today in order to capture their attention and maintain loyalty for years to come.

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Collage Group’s 2023 Media Habits and Preferences Study provides insights on where people are using media, why they’re going there, and how your brand can authentically engage with your target segments across channels. This report dives deep into Multicultural consumers’ platform usage and drivers, content preferences, and engagement.

What surprised us:

Today’s tweens have more free time than the media generally portrays—and they’re largely satisfied with the amount of free time they have. With so much attention and energy put into keeping kids busy in today’s society, it’s easy to assume that childhood has evolved into a utopian state that’s perfectly optimized and rid of boredom, but that’s not the reality for the vast majority of tweens—nor their parents.

Why it matters:

Free time today looks dramatically different from a decade or two ago as a result of new technology and the internet, but ultimately, how kids want to spend their time is the same.

The Big Picture:

  1. Parents and tweens are in a tug of war over unstructured free time. Despite agreement that free time is already well-balanced, parents strive to structure their kids’ time while tweens crave more independence.

  2. For today’s tweens, the “online vs offline” binary is outdated. It’s not an either/or: The two are indispensable parts of everyday life. The real goal is harmony.

Key Insight #1: Free Time Expectations

Know This:

Parents generally feel good about the amount of free time their kids are getting but societal pressure is making many second guess whether they should be structuring and planning more of their kids’ time.

Do This:

  • Try this: Promoting the benefits of boredom, fostering a sense of independent play in Tweens.

Key Insight #2: Online Free Time and Play Preferences

Know This:

Screen time is a staple of tween life today, fulfilling their needs of both entertainment and socializing. But parents are skeptical of so much time spent online, especially moms—even if there are benefits to it.

Do This:

  • Highlight tools and educate them on ways they can feel more confident in their tweens’ relationship to technology.
  • Promote the benefits of tech, especially its interplay with IRL activities such as socializing and skill building.

Contact us today to learn how you can gain access to the full research and more in our world-class Cultural Intelligence Engine.

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