Marketing to Gen Alpha: Insights for Beauty & Personal Care Brands

Gen Alpha: Key Stat. 68% of US parents of children under 12 say it’s important to them that their child sees their identity authentically represented - Mintel

The Emergence of Generation Alpha

In a recent unveiling that marks a significant shift in the landscape of consumer insights, Mintel has released groundbreaking research focused on Generation Alpha. This generation is poised to redefine market dynamics, particularly in the beauty and personal care (BPC) sector.

Born between 2010 and 2025, Gen Alpha’s unique upbringing, deeply rooted in technology and social media, is not just a footnote in market research. It’s a pivotal chapter that demands attention. Mintel’s study dives into the intricacies of this generation, offering invaluable insights for brands looking to navigate the evolving preferences and behaviors of these young consumers.

You can buy the full report or read the insights below.

Influences Shaping Gen Alpha’s Consumer Behavior

Millennial & Gen Z InfluenceGen Alpha, influenced by Millennial parents and close to Gen Z, adopts their digital and community values.Target both Millennials & Gen Alpha with digital, community-focused campaigns.Balancing appeal to both generations.Engage through relatable digital content.
Technology & InteractionGen Alpha expects interactive, engaging brand experiences, not passive screen time.Utilize AR/VR for immersive marketing.Keeping pace with tech trends.Create memorable, engaging brand experiences.
Evolving Tech RelationshipComfortable with online shopping, Gen Alpha also values physical store experiences.Blend online and offline retail seamlessly.Integrating digital and physical retail.Enhance e-commerce while innovating in-store.
Sustainability & InclusivityAware of environmental issues, Gen Alpha prefers eco-friendly products and values diversity.Emphasize sustainability and inclusivity in products and marketing.Avoiding greenwashing; genuine inclusivity.Build loyalty with authentic sustainability and DEI efforts.

The Millennial and Gen Z Influence

Insights and Data Points

The influence of Millennials and Gen Z on Generation Alpha is profound and multifaceted. Mintel’s research highlights that Millennial parents, being digital natives themselves, are instilling similar values and behaviors in their Gen Alpha children. This generational overlap means that Gen Alpha is growing up in an environment where digital fluency, social media engagement, and online community building are the norms.

key insight

29% of Chinese parents of kids aged 4-12 have bought personal care products as requested by their children who were influenced by others or trends.

For instance, Millennial parents, who value online connectivity, are more likely to encourage and supervise their children’s digital interactions, thus shaping their early experiences with technology and social media. This upbringing is creating a generation that is not only tech-proficient but also highly attuned to the nuances of digital communication and online communities. Furthermore, their proximity in age to Gen Z, a group known for its progressive views, adds another layer of digital influence, making Gen Alpha’s characteristics more likely to mirror similar behaviors and preferences.

Actionable Steps for Brands

In light of these insights, BPC brands must strategize their approach to engage with Generation Alpha effectively. Firstly, brands should leverage digital platforms to create interactive and engaging content that resonates with Millennials and Gen Alpha. This could include using social media channels favored by Millennials for brand storytelling and engagement. Additionally, incorporating elements of gamification and interactive experiences in digital marketing can appeal to this audience.

Brands should also consider partnerships with influencers or content creators popular among Millennials and Gen Z, as these figures often hold significant sway over consumer preferences and behaviors. Furthermore, platforms can create a loyal customer base by fostering a sense of community and connectivity. This approach should be balanced with a keen awareness of the values and social causes important to these generations, such as sustainability and inclusivity, ensuring that brand messaging aligns with these principles.

Technology and Interaction

Insights and Data Points

Generation Alpha’s interaction with technology sets them apart from previous generations. According to Mintel’s research, screen time is an active, engaging experience for Gen Alpha. Raised in an era of rapid technological advancement, they are not just passive consumers of content but active participants.

key insight

69% of UK parents of 5-11-year-olds say that digital literacy is as essential as reading, writing, and arithmetic.

This generation is accustomed to interactive and collaborative digital environments, such as educational apps, interactive games, and social media platforms that encourage user-generated content. Their digital experiences are characterized by high engagement, creativity, and interactivity. This immersion in interactive digital landscapes has also shaped their expectations from brands.

Gen Alpha looks for authenticity and engagement in its brand interactions, preferring experiences that are not just informative but also interactive and entertaining. This shift in consumer behavior is a clear indicator for BPC brands to rethink their traditional marketing approaches and align with the interactive nature of this upcoming generation.

Actionable Steps for Brands

In response to these insights, BPC brands need to innovate their marketing strategies to cater to the interactive preferences of Gen Alpha. This could involve integrating more interactive elements into digital marketing, such as augmented reality (AR) experiences, interactive tutorials, and gamified content. For instance, AR can create virtual try-on experiences for beauty products, allowing Gen Alpha to interact with products fun and engagingly.

Brands should also focus on creating content encourages participation, such as user-generated content campaigns or interactive social media challenges. This engages Gen Alpha and fosters a sense of community and brand loyalty. Additionally, leveraging the latest technologies to create personalized and immersive shopping experiences, both online and in-store, can significantly appeal to this generation’s love for technology. Brands must maintain authenticity in these interactions, as Gen Alpha is adept at distinguishing genuine engagement from marketing tactics.

Evolving Relationship with Technology

Insights and Data Points

Generation Alpha’s evolving relationship with technology is reshaping the retail landscape. As digital natives, they exhibit comfort and familiarity with online shopping and virtual interactions, a trend that Mintel’s research suggests will significantly contribute to the growth of e-commerce. However, this does not imply a complete shift away from traditional retail.

key insight

53% of US 12-14-year-olds who use social media say they are interested in interacting with beauty products virtually.

Gen Alpha also shows an inclination towards physical stores, suggesting a preference for a hybrid shopping experience that blends the digital with the tangible. This duality presents a unique challenge for brands, requiring a seamless integration of online and offline experiences. The key factors driving their preferences in this hybrid model are convenience, personalization, and sustainability.

Gen Alpha values the ease and immediacy of online shopping but also seeks the tangible, experiential aspects of in-store shopping. This generation’s shopping behavior indicates a future where online and offline retail lines become increasingly blurred, creating a more integrated omnichannel retail environment.

Actionable Steps for Brands

To adapt to this hybrid shopping preference, brands must develop a cohesive omnichannel strategy. This involves ensuring a seamless transition between online and offline channels, where each platform complements the other. For instance, brands could implement technologies like augmented reality in physical stores for a more interactive experience or use online platforms to offer virtual tours of their physical stores.

key insight

53% of US 12-14-year-olds have bought or are interested in buying something online and picking it up in a store.

Personalization is key. Online shopping experiences can be enhanced with personalized recommendations based on user behavior, while in-store experiences can be tailored to the customer’s online preferences. Additionally, incorporating sustainability into online and offline experiences can resonate deeply with Gen Alpha.

This could mean using sustainable materials in physical stores and eco-friendly packaging for online orders. Brands should also consider implementing easy-to-use digital tools for a seamless shopping experience, such as mobile apps with integrated loyalty programs and virtual customer service.

Sustainability and Inclusivity

Insights and Data Points

Generation Alpha’s awareness and concern for environmental issues are shaping a new consumer consciousness. Mintel’s research indicates that this generation is not only aware of sustainability but also actively seeks eco-friendly products. Their heightened sensitivity towards the environment is coupled with an acute awareness of greenwashing, making them more discerning consumers who can differentiate between genuine sustainability efforts and mere marketing tactics.

key insight

78% of Canadian 13-year-olds say not enough is being done to prevent climate change.

Furthermore, Gen Alpha places a high value on diversity and inclusion. This extends beyond mere representation; they expect brands to embody these values in their marketing strategies and product offerings. This generation’s preferences signal to brands that sustainability and inclusivity are ethical and strategic imperatives.

The demand for eco-friendly products and inclusive marketing is not a passing trend but a fundamental shift in consumer expectations, driven by a generation growing up in a more environmentally conscious and socially aware world.

Actionable Steps for Brands

In response to these insights, brands must integrate sustainability and inclusivity into the core of their business strategies. This involves more than just marketing; it requires a genuine commitment to sustainable practices and inclusive policies. For sustainability, brands should look into sourcing eco-friendly materials, adopting sustainable manufacturing processes, and ensuring their supply chains are environmentally responsible.

Transparency is critical; brands should communicate their sustainability efforts openly to build trust with Gen Alpha consumers. Regarding inclusivity, brands must ensure that their product range, marketing campaigns, and overall brand messaging reflect diverse identities and experiences. This could involve diversifying the range of models used in advertising, ensuring accessibility to products and services, and actively supporting social causes related to diversity and inclusion. Brands should also be wary of performative activism; Gen Alpha is adept at identifying inauthentic efforts.

Considerations for Marketing to Gen Alpha

The intricacies of Gen A are complex. It becomes increasingly clear that traditional marketing strategies may fail to address their unique preferences and behaviors. Growing up in a digitally-dominated world, this generation demands a fresh approach that resonates with their tech-driven, inclusive, and value-driven ethos.

To engage with Gen Alpha, brands must reimagine their strategies, ensuring they are technologically advanced, socially conscious, and inclusive. This involves a holistic reevaluation of how brands interact with this upcoming generation, from their digital platforms to their messages. The following points highlight key areas where brands need to adapt and innovate to meet the distinctive demands of Generation Alpha:

  1. Embrace Digital Innovation: Utilize advanced digital platforms and technologies like AR and VR to create interactive and engaging experiences that appeal to Gen Alpha’s tech-driven nature.
  2. Foster Authentic Engagement: Develop genuine, relatable content that resonates with Gen Alpha, avoiding overly promotional tones in favor of storytelling and authentic interactions.
  3. Prioritize Mobile-First Experiences: Given Gen Alpha’s familiarity with mobile devices, ensure that all digital content is optimized for mobile viewing and interaction.
  4. Champion Sustainability: Integrate sustainable practices and eco-friendly products into your brand, as Gen Alpha is highly conscious of environmental issues and values brands that share this concern.
  5. Promote Diversity and Inclusion: Reflect a wide range of identities and experiences in your marketing efforts to resonate with Gen Alpha’s understanding and expectation of inclusivity.
  6. Leverage Influencer Partnerships: Collaborate with influencers who genuinely connect with Gen Alpha, as they often look up to and are influenced by social media personalities and content creators.

Wrap-Up Thoughts

In concluding our exploration of Gen Alpha, it’s evident that this cohort is not just another demographic segment but a transformative force reshaping the market landscape. As they mature, their influence on consumer trends, particularly in the beauty and personal care (BPC) sector, is set to become increasingly significant. For BPC brands, understanding and adapting to the unique characteristics and preferences of Gen Alpha is not just beneficial; it’s imperative for future success.

Key insights reveal that Gen Alpha is distinguished by its digital nativity, environmental consciousness, and a strong sense of inclusivity. Their comfort with technology is unparalleled, making them adept at quickly navigating digital spaces. This digital fluency demands that brands offer more than just an online presence; they must create immersive, interactive digital experiences that captivate this young audience.

Moreover, Gen Alpha’s awareness of environmental issues is profound. They are not just passive observers but active participants in seeking sustainable solutions. This environmental consciousness extends to their consumer habits, with a preference for brands that demonstrate genuine commitment to sustainability. For BPC brands, this means integrating eco-friendly practices in products and across the entire supply chain.

Inclusivity is another cornerstone of Gen Alpha’s values. This generation has a broader understanding of diversity, extending beyond race and gender to include a spectrum of identities. They expect this diversity to be reflected in the brands they engage with, not just in marketing campaigns but in product lines, corporate policies, and social initiatives.

As Generation Alpha ages, its impact on the BPC market will be profound. Brands that wish to remain relevant must pivot to meet their expectations, focusing on creating digital-first, sustainable, and inclusive experiences. This alignment with Gen Alpha’s values is not just a marketing strategy; it’s a pathway to building lasting relationships with the next generation of consumers.

Michael Brito

Michael Brito is a Digital OG. He’s been building brands online since Al Gore invented the Internet. You can connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter.