Gen Alpha has greater say in household shopping – Hindustan Times

4 minutes, 14 seconds Read
ByShuchi Bansal

Gen Alpha children in Indian households are influencing a wide range of purchase decisions, becoming key sources of brand discovery for parents.

MUMBAI: Children in Indian households are increasingly affecting purchase decisions made by their parents across product categories. While this may not be new as their propensity to nag parents to buy advertised products is well-known, research analysts say their ability to influence a bunch of decisions in the household is unique.

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Defined as Generation Alpha (those born after 2010), this is the first generation that is born in an entirely online world. “It means an iPad or a mobile phone was thrusted in their hands when they were 5-6 years old. A lot of their education and affiliations have happened in the online world,” said M A Parthasarthy, chief growth officer, GroupM, South Asia. Consequently, they have a high degree of access to information and exposure to various things.

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“They’re extremely aware and exert influence on categories of which they are not the primary consumers. These could be electronics, automobiles or even vacation travel,” Parthasarthy said at a recent webinar organized by the Market Research Society of India (MRSI). Earlier, “pester power” was used more for products directly addressed to them, he added.

These children are among the top sources of brand discovery for parents, ahead of e-commerce websites and online ads, a survey said. When they ask for something that parents had not even considered buying, 55% of the parents ended up purchasing the item, Parthasarthy said, citing the survey.

Gen Alpha has emerged as strong technology influencers, said Puneet Avasthi, director, Specialists Businesses (Insights) at Kantar, South Asia. As nuclear families proliferate, parents become more dependent on this generation for their tech needs. “In a market where everything from shopping to banking is online, kids are playing a stronger role in actual purchases,” Avasthi said.

Their ease with technology and troubleshooting abilities has created an aura of credibility around their point of view, Avasthi said. In a multi-market survey parents conceded that by the age of eight, children are more adept in technology than them.

Brands’ interest in this group is not just because of their growing say in family decisions but also because they are the largest segment in India at 25% share of population. The oldest Gen Alpha are already teenagers and they will be an affluent generation. “They have pocket money and by the time they are 18 many will make money from gigs before entering the formal workforce,” Parthasarthy said.

He said marketers must note that Gen Alpha is a voice and visuals generation and not inclined towards typing. “They give voice commands to Siri and Alexa. That’s a significant shift in how they access information so a lot of discovery will be through voice and visual. They will not use Google search the way we did,” Parthasarthy said.

It is also a generation of ‘cord-nevers’ instead of cord-cutters since they have probably never watched traditional cable television in the era of smart TVs. It is fair to assume that they will not subscribe to a linear cable connection. Since Gen Alpha is heavily into gaming and gamification of content, it can be reached via these channels and through technology driven experiences, Parthasarthy added.

Children watch a lot of content online on digital devices and have a well-formed opinion on who are the right kind of social media influencers for them. Their role models are not closer home like teachers or parents but more in the realm of the digital world, said Avasthi.

“They are pretty sensitive to issues like inclusivity and sustainability and any digressions raise their antennae,” said Parthasarthy. Online exposure also gives them perspective on what’s right and wrong for themselves and their families.

Avasthi said there’s some research work happening on Gen Alpha but a lot more ground needs to be covered. “A Kantar study on how the pandemic shaped children’s attitudes showed that they started creating very closely guarded private spaces for themselves,” Avasthi said. Like GenZ, they are also fairly individualistic and confident. “They have a good sense of where they belong and they feel they are very central to holding the household together,” he said.

Eventually, when they grow up, and, depending on the trajectory of the economy, they will come into their own and create their own unique signature, Avasthi added.

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