Generation Next: Meet Gen Z and the Alphas

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Australia is in the midst of a massive generational transition. 

Today’s grandparents are part of the Baby Boomers, born from the late 1940’s to the early 1960’s. This generation is followed by Generation X, born from 1965 to 1979 who, at the oldest edge, are moving through their mid-life.

Today’s new parents and those entering their peak fertility years are part of Generation Y, born from 1980 to 1994.

Today’s children and teens are Generation Z, born from 1995 to 2009 and Australia is home to more than 4.5 million of them.

From 2010 Australia has seen the start of a new generation and having worked our way through the alphabet, we call this new generation, the first to be fully born in the 21st Century, Generation Alpha.

Gen Alpha have been born into an era of record birth numbers, and there are around 2.6 million of them nationally. When this generation is complete, in 2024, Generation Alpha births will total almost 5 million over the 15 years from 2010, compared to 4 million births of the Baby Boomers for the 19 years from 1946.

Generation of 'upagers'

The oldest Gen Alphas commence Year 3 next year and will be the most formally educated generation ever, the most technology supplied generation ever, and globally the wealthiest generation ever.

They are a generation of “upagers” in many ways; physical maturity is on setting earlier so adolescence for them will begin earlier and so does the social, psychological, educational, and commercial sophistication which can have negative as well as positive consequences.

Interestingly for them while adolescence will begin earlier, it will extend later. The adult life stage, once measured by marriage, children, mortgage and career is being pushed back.

This generation will be students longer, start their earning years later and so stay at home longer. The role of today’s parents therefore will span a longer age range and based on current trends, more than half of the Alphas will likely be living with their parents into their late 20’s.

'The great Screenage'

Generation Alpha have been born into “the great screenage” and while we are all impacted by our times, technology has bigger impacts on the generation experiencing the changes during their formative years.

The year they began being born was the year the iPad was launched, Instagram was created and App was the word of the year. For this reason, we also call them Generation Glass because the glass that they interact on now and will wear on their wrist, as glasses on their face, that will be on the Head Up Display of their driverless cars, or that will be the interactive surface of their school desk, will transform how they work, shop, learn, connect and play.

Not since Gutenberg transformed the utility of paper with his printing press in the 15th Century has a medium been so transformed for learning and communication purposes as glass- and it has happened in the lifetime of Generation Alpha.

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We’re passionate about turning tables into visuals, data into videos and reports into presentations. As researchers, we understand the methods, but we’re also designers and we know what will communicate, and how to best engage. 

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