Generation Alpha: The Streaming-First Generation

Technology shifts have shaped the consumption habits of every generation. For Gen X, the VCR enabled time-shifted viewing. For Millennials, the internet made “google” a verb. For Gen Z, mobile made information and entertainment a swipe away. 

For Generation Alpha, TV streaming will be the medium that defines consumption habits. With family viewership and family-friendly content moving away from traditional linear TV, Generation Alpha will be increasingly unfamiliar with prior generations’ concept of TV appointment viewing. They will grow up as a streaming-first generation, with access to seemingly limitless content across a broad range of devices and media. 

According to a study conducted by Mark McCrindle, this generation was born after 2010, two years after Roku launched its first streaming player. Generation Alpha comprises more than 1 in 7 people, who are influencing their household purchases. As emerging consumers, they will have more technology at their disposal than prior generations which will ultimately shape how they experience the world and consume information. 

Whether you’re a content creator, publisher or marketer, this next generation will expect top-notch streaming content and personalized experiences unlike ever before. 

We recently surveyed Roku parents to learn more about how their kids are influencing their buying decisions. Here’s what we found.

How Children Influence Buying Decisions 

Our survey found that 69% of parents stated that their children influence their shopping decisions the most, followed by spouses (67%), friends, parents, and others. We saw this trend across a number of different product categories.   

Toys & Games (68%) is the top category that children influence the most, followed by Grocery/Snacks (59%) 

We also found that older children ages five and up are more likely to influence a parent’s purchase decision in dining out/meal delivery (46%), media & entertainment (40%), apparel (37%), technology (34%)and beverage (27%) 

By comparison, younger children tend to influence baby/children, home furnishing and, interestingly, automotive purchases indicating a family’s emphasis on safety of furniture and cars with newborns. 

Key Takeaway: Advertisers across all categories should consider the reach of kids and family programming, especially as streaming is a common activity among families on Roku. The Roku Channel Kids & Family Channel is an essential piece for marketers as more than half (57%) of Roku parents surveyed say that they spent time watching kids and family content with their children in 2020.   

A Family Purchasing Process  

Our findings showed that kids influence the entire purchase funnel, and it begins with TV streaming. One in three parents stated they watch commercials with their children. More than half (61%) of parents stated their children reference a brand or product they see advertised on TV and 57% of parents purchased a product based on their child’s interest.   

Key TakeawayFamily ad-supported streaming is important as kids’ awareness and perception of a brand’s messaging will influence their parents’ purchase decisions. Advertisers should consider how their creative messaging resonates with the family audience as a whole.   

The Next Generation  

Generation Alpha will grow up in a time with seemingly infinite content and instant communication at their fingertips. This will create new demands for advertisers to shift away from traditional mediums in order to connect and stay relevant with families.  

As their on-screen habits unfold, family TV streaming time on Roku presents more opportunities for brands to build relationships with this generation, and grow with them throughout the years