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Generation Alpha and the new Social Influencers

Millennials and Generation Z are already well known to marketers who try to drive awareness through influencers, but what about Generation Alpha? This new breed of young consumer is emerging through the ranks and engaging with influencers online. But the biggest impact isn’t just on sales… it’s on the act of being an influencer itself.

What is Generation Alpha?

Children born after 2010 are defined as Generation Alpha. They are kids who have never known a world without the internet, smartphones and tablets. Indeed, so prominent has this technology become within this age group that 55% of pre-schoolers now regularly use tablets, while 16% actually own one. Additionally, it’s been estimated that children between the ages of 5 and 15 spent at least 15 hours online every week.

Where are they spending that time? 73% of Alphers, as they are known, prefer YouTube to any other platform and that means they are getting exposed to the wide range of influencers YouTube has to offer. The same is happening across other platforms like Instagram, and it is, of course, having a significant impact.

Ambika Zutshi, CEO of fashion business analysts, Fashionbii explained: “Kids today are much more exposed than ever: to the media, surroundings, celebrity news, kid’s influencers on Instagram, etc, that they do demand a say in their styling, as well as desire to dress like their favourite celebrity. Hence, if the brands go about satisfying this need, they have a chance to win big.”

An influence on influencers

The effect of influencers on Generation Alpha is much bigger than simply inspiring their fashion choices though. Thanks to their instinctive understanding of the necessary technology and surrounding ecosystem, Alphers are also being inspired to become influencers. As Diana Bradley of PR Week explains:

“Generation Alpha… is being introduced to influencers practically out of the womb and idolizing them before they even hit kindergarten. Not only do kids want what influencers have, they also want to be the influencers…

“Kids used to look up to movie stars, athletes, and cartoon characters, but at least those kinds of celebrities were packaged in heavily edited and polished video footage. The new idols, social media stars, are, for the most part, more raw and uncensored, meaning Generation Alpha will grow up craving real talk from celebrities and seeing through BS.”

Such prominence means that as the years go by, we may see a change in the way that influencer marketing works, but it is unlikely its significance will fade. At this point, it’s as embedded in our way of life as traditional advertising is. Influencers are very much here to stay.

And now, with the younger generation as steeped in YouTube stars and Instagram celebrities as previous generations were in sports and movie stars, it only produces more opportunities for brands. To tap into them, they need to find ways to not only work with influencers but truly harness the ripples that any influencer, even those they are not working with, can create.

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