The Alpha Generation Will Drive The 2020 Marketplace
I am an avid reader of the Wall Street Journal.
If you asked me if I would be reading it every day back 25 years ago, I would have replied, “no way.”
What I remember back then was a newspaper of mostly financial and stock news. Not too sure whether that was a correct assessment of the newspaper’s content, but that is what I remember when it was an MBA class requirement.
My dad headed up several corporations over his career. When he retired, he was based out of Brussels where he ran the European division of a major U.S. corporation.
I remember my dad was a Wall Street Journal loyalist.
This last blog post I write at the end of every year is always a prelude into the year next to come.
I cite trends I see. I express viewpoints crafted around work I did in the last year. I make predictions of what’s likely to unfold in the next year.
This morning, I grabbed my regular bagel with honey spread, a nice cup of coffee and my morning edition of the Wall Street Journal.
I turned 60 years old in 2019 and so maybe the behavior fits my life stage.
Aside from the firing of Boeing’s CEO, retailer economics of the last minute rush and editorials on the Washington comedy stage show, there was an article on the front page of the second section of the Wall Street Journal that grabbed my attention.
It grabbed my attention so much, that I had to write about it. There is no question that he story is evidence that the number one trend I see driving 2020 and beyond is true and correct.
Over the last two years, I highlighted the Millennials coupling and purchasing real estate as the number one trend driving both 2018 and 2019.
While the Millennials are actually the creators of the 2020 number one trend, it is less about them and more about the another group of people… or should I say… kids.
The headline of the article is, “YouTube Child Star Builds Retail Empire.”
The story is about Ryan.
In many ways, he is a lead icon of Generation Alpha. Ryan is an Asian-American… but even more unique than the label might imply. His mom is Vietnamese and his dad is Japanese. He is officially a Texan.
His parents created a YouTube channel that is all about Ryan called Ryan’s World that today nets in 23 million regular viewers.
The Big 3 — CBS, NBC, ABC — are not involved. Neither is Discovery and its host of channels. Neither is Viacom nor its network Nickelodeon.
In Ryan’s World, Ryan is simply Ryan. No acting. No cartoons. No script.
Just a kid being a kid.
In 2020, the first wave of Generation Alpha will be turning 5 years old. Generation Alpha is the first generation that has been totally born in the 2000s. Also known as the “Children of Millennials” generation.
Over the last couple of years, Generational Alpha has not made much news with the press.
As many of us know, the press is not the most leading edge on the revelation of new trends. It is a bit pre-occupied with the Washington stage set.
While conventional baby food sales are on a decline, diaper sales have been setting new records!
Some purchased in retail stores, but an even larger lot purchased online on sites like Amazon, Target.com and specialty baby sites like BuyBuyBaby.com.
With the Alphas turning 5 years old in 2020, they are no longer babies in a mobile stroller, but actually a new market segment that is beginning to build “brand equity!”
Ryan’s World is a solid testimony that the Alphas have arrived.
Ryan’s World is also solid testimony that the Mega-Giant Brands are not quite as powerful as many once thought and continue to lay claim.
The Alpha Generation is going to enter into the marketplace stronger than any Hurricane hitting the U.S. in the past decade.
Many CEOs and Boards that I work with still think that Millennials are still found in the University classrooms.
If you follow this blog, you have heard me say it in the past. The economy is not going to slow down any time soon.
The largest Generation ever found in the U.S. — the Millennials — are birthing more Alphas and in the next year, the next “boom” generation will drive the market more than high tech mega-brands like Google, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Facebook.
Funny that Ryan’s World nets 23 million followers and the Alpha Generation hits 23 million birthed to-date in 2020.
So what will be the impact in 2020? Will it just be more baby products and kid’s toys?
Watch as malls come back.
Watch as vacation travel including RVs and campers come back.
Watch as dining rooms resurface and kitchens become more walled in.
Great rooms will transition back to Family rooms.
Watch as real TVs come back. If you threw out the cable box, you might want to find a new one.
Watch as SUVs give way to Station Wagons.
Kids night and family night specials will return.
Gyms will come back as true gyms.
Baked sales and garage sales, PTAs and kids sports, Scouts and YMCAs… watch as they come back in social media text and YouTube videos.
P&G Brands came to life in the late 1960s and 1970s as Boomers gave birth to Millennials. Watch brands like P&G, Kraft and Pillsbury attempt to come back with television ads running in prime time.
As a Baby Boomer, I watched as the limelight shifted quickly away from the GenXers and focused on what was initially termed at Generation Y and then became re-named, Millennials.
In some ways, I already feel for the Zoomers.
Watch as the stage lights shift over to folks like Ryan in 2020 and beyond.