How will COVID-19 shape future consumers?
A survey of Australian adults taken in the early months of the pandemic found 84 percent believing COVID-19 will play a significant role in shaping the current generation of children.
The survey was part of a study from Australia consultancy, McCrindle, exploring the pandemic’s impact on Generation Alpha (individuals born between 2010 and 2025). Many in the group are expected to remember the pandemic, with the oldest turning 11 this year.
“Many watched mum or dad work from the kitchen bench while keeping an eye on them as they learnt from a virtual classroom,” wrote McCrindle in a blog entry. “They might not know why we need to stay 1.5 meters away from other people, but they know that we should. The fact that there was a prolonged period of time where they couldn’t go to the park or visit grandparents is not lost on them.
Some trend watchers, in fact, are starting to call younger generations most impacted by the pandemic “Gen C” or “Generation COVID.”
In a widely-cited report that came out last December, Haim Israel, head of thematic investing for BofA Global Research, estimated Gen C being born from 2016 to the mid-2030s.
Mr. Israel wrote in the report, “This generation will feel the impact of COVID long after the pandemic ends in terms of how they trust and show intimacy — being trained not to hug, shake hands or even play in groups. Virtual attendance will be as accepted as in-person attendance for all activities, from classrooms, to talent shows, and even family reunions.”
A CNN report cited a mental health expert who believed children between the ages seven and nine are particularly vulnerable to the pandemic’s disruption, but some expressed more concern about development for toddlers.
Generation Alpha is expected to be a step further digitally-immersed than their predecessor generation, Gen-Z, and the McCrindle survey found nearly all adult respondents expecting that, as a result of the pandemic, technology and screens will become more integrated in children’s lives. While 65 percent felt the experience would have a negative impact on children’s mental health, 78 percent felt the pandemic would make children of today more resilient.
- 84% of adults believe COVID-19 will significantly shape Gen Alpha – McCrindle
- OK Zoomer: Gen Z Primer – BofA Securities
- Meet Gen C, the Covid generation – CNN
- Will Gen Z be the ‘most disruptive generation ever’ for retail and brand marketers? – Retailwire
- Has COVID-19 transformed Gen-Z forever? – Retailwire
- Half of Generation Alpha will rely solely on social media to get their news – Express
- Generation Alpha kids carry on trend of declining interest in sports – Axios
- What comes after Generation Z? Alpha, of course – The Sydney Morning Herald
- ‘Pre-Schoolers Using Tablet Or Mobile Can’t See The Forest For The Trees – Eötvös Loránd University Faculty of Science
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Is it practical for retailers or brands to start studying and preparing for how Generation Alpha may be impacted by the pandemic? In your opinion, how will growing up through the pandemic affect how Generation Alpha shops in adulthood?