The spending power of Gen Alpha and what this means for skincare brands

Despite being the youngest consumers, Generation Alpha is more brand-aware than ever and are now dubbed the shoppers of the future – but not in the traditional way a brand would expect.

Defining those born from 2010 to 2024, Generation Alpha are children of millennials and are soon to be the largest age demographic globally (McCrindle). During these vital coming of age years, Gen Alpha are discovering their personal identities and independence, making it a key time for them to learn about brands and emerging trends. However, with a lack of physical retail spaces designed specifically to target Gen Alpha, these consumers are instead turning to social media – as the only generation to not know a world without smartphones – or the influence and purchasing power of their parents.

Generation Alpha’s economic footprint is expected to reach £4.32tn by 2029 (McCrindle)– almost as much as the spending power of millennials and Gen Z combined (Harvard Business Review). But, while there is clearly profitable opportunity in targeting this generation, does this mean all brands should?

Looking at the beauty industry specifically, Gen Alpha is driving 49% of skincare sales growth (Beauty Inc). However, more recently, this audience has been overexposed to social media content promoting anti-ageing skincare and products with highly functional ingredients – typically created for and marketed towards older demographics – leading them to adopt unnecessary regiments and harm their skin (Stylus).

While many use social media to discover new brands and products to try, this has led to backlash towards some beauty brands for not considering their audience in their PR strategies.

Instead of targeting Gen Alpha specifically, brands should instead focus on educating this audience and consider how they demonstrate their values to millennial audiences who, ultimately, will be the decision makers and hold purchasing power.

Millennial parents are actively seeking out brands and products that help educate their children about life and teach them values that align with their own, from body positivity to diversity. At the same time, Millennial parents are quick to criticise brands that are not reflective of their values. (source)

For example, recognising the need to better guide Gen Alphas, Dove recently launched a #TheFaceOf10 campaign, which included a free resource containing expert advice for parents, explaining the difference between young people’s skincare needs and the effects of harsher anti-ageing products, like retinol. The campaign also features body-confidence advocates decorating their faces with stickers and face paint – rather than anti-ageing products – to highlight how a 10-year-old’s face should be a canvas for carefree fun, in a bid to better support young consumers’ self-esteem (Stylus).

Likewise, brands such as Kiehl’s have proactively taken a stance in telling teenagers not to buy their products – launching a social media and in-store advertising campaign including captions stating “childhood goes by fast! Don’t let your kids waste it on a 10-step skincare routine” and “Things kids shouldn’t think about: taxes, mortgage rates and a 10-step skincare routine.”

With social media being such a key tool for discovery, skincare brands should also consider their strategy and the influencers they use to promote their products. More than half of Gen Alpha’s spend more than three hours per day on digital devices, increasing their exposure to influential content. Although this means Gen Alpha are more likely to trust their favourite influencers and want to buy the products they’re wearing, using, and consuming, brands have a responsibility to ensure their products are both suitable and relevant for the audiences they’re targeting – therefore the ‘faces’ of these products should align with this too. Skincare brands should partner with trusted influencers who align with their brand, particularly utilising Millennial and older audiences where they offer anti-ageing products, to help build trust among consumers. Brands should also consider family-centric marketing and create campaigns that resonate with both parents and children, to foster shared experiences and emotional connections.

Gen Alpha presents a unique opportunity for brands and PR teams. By understanding their values, and preferences, brands can build lasting connections and loyalty among a generation that will define the future of the marketplace.

If you’re a skincare brand looking for PR support, get in touch with our team of experts today.

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