Gen Alpha: How brands are using immersive games to connect with their newest consumers
This generation holds a strong command in influencing the purchasing decisions of senior members, and hence, is the next big challenge for marketers
Even as bandwidth speed continues to rise and bolster digital consumption in India daily, the newest generation of consumers is increasing in both number and impact. Generation Alpha (those born after 2010) may still have a lot of growing up to do, but their digital consumption habits are far more evolved than their seniors, Generation Z (1995-2010) included, and this is going to have huge implications on both brand and consumer behaviour as well as engagement.
Faraz Sayed, Director – Media Planning, Carat India, believes that Generation Alpha wields the power of ‘influence’ like no other generation. They roughly comprise 1/4th of the nation’s population, and India has the highest growth rate of Generation Alpha. “Apart from the actual increasing count of this generation, the purchasing power and decision-making experienced by them is phenomenal. This generation is the most educated in human history. Equipped with technology and knowledge, they are the next big challenge for marketers,” he states.
“Generation Alpha are not only the consumers themselves but also hold a strong command in influencing the purchasing decisions of senior members. Research shows that children form relationships with brands from a very young age, and if promoted carefully, these feelings can stay with the brand for life,” adds Sayed.
And every brand worth its stock is trying to engage with this new generation of consumers. Given their innate familiarity with technology, and having grown up in the digital age, media and entertainment have proven to be the best access to restive attention spans.
Krutin Shah, Co-Founder and COO, Phyvital Inc, a web3 integrated metavers commerce platform, observes that marketers and agencies are constantly looking for new channels to connect with a growing audience of generation alpha. “These channels include immersive gaming platforms that are now positioned at the metaverse, in addition to newer social media channels like Snapchat and TikTok. Brands and marketers’ willingness to market in these channels has grown substantially over the last six months,” he says.
While social media has become de rigeur for any brand’s marketing strategy, gaming has provided another arena for companies to compete in. Younger audiences are especially engaged with immersive metaverse games like Minecraft and Roblox, which are played by tens of millions of kids (and more adults than you’d expect) every day.
Shashwat Manohar, VP and Head-Digital at Enormous, says, “Games like Minecraft or Roblox provide a virtual experience which not only allows for immersive gameplay but have also become a platform of choice for social engagement especially for teens and Generation Alpha. Roblox is a prime example of a platform wherein players like Kellogg’s have already made a foray launching their own game.”
Manohar says that while this is great for engaging a very young TG and building further stickiness with them, such platforms also allow brands to explore monetisation opportunities by selling virtual branded merchandise.
Snehaal Dhruve, Co-Founder and CEO, Phyvital Inc, agrees that audiences for these immersive games are increasing at a robust rate, saying, “Roblox has over 200 million users with DAU over 30 million and growing. It also allows for brand activations and putting sponsored content. As a result, more and more marketers are looking to create content for Roblox and similar platforms.”
Defining immersion, Sayed notes that the time spent on Roblox in Q1 2022 has increased almost 5 to 6 times compared to 2018. “On the other hand, if Minecraft was a country, it would be next only to China and India in population. This clearly indicates the sheer scale and audience pool that such platforms can offer. The digital world is becoming media-saturated, making it increasingly difficult for advertisers and marketers to compete for attention,” he says.
The gaming industry in fact dominates a lot of entertainment content consumption nowadays, as is being observed by marketers. “Games like Minecraft get millions of views on the Internet mostly by this generation and the use of this medium in marketing has become an important part of the marketing mix for the brands,” says Sanmesh Sapkal, Associate Director – Key Accounts, TheSmallBigIdea.
Dhruve agrees that the industry is starting to see a lot of media and entertainment companies and lifestyle brands starting to build content for these games. “Recently T-Series made a game on Roblox to give users an experience similar to their new film- Bhool Bhulaiyaa 2. We expect more such experiences to come in the next few months,” says Dhruve.
And the entry into this space is widening all the time with Sapkal observing, “The gap between the early entry into the digital space is decreasing which was earlier around 15 years has now become almost 8 years where these kids have access to the internet. Marketers in the future will have a close eye on them to become the next potential big market in the industry as the super early adopters.”
"Generation Alpha are not only the consumer themselves but also holds a strong command in influencing the purchasing decisions of senior members," says Sayed, concluding, "Thanks to their digital-first behavior, their interaction with media is guaranteed but simply reaching out to them is not a challenge, getting them to engage effectively is. We can expect brands to adapt their communications and messaging to resonate with young ones in the coming years. Taking all these factors into consideration, we can be reasonably sure that this market is going to be huge, and almost rival Generation Z and Millennials combined.”
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