NEW YORK — A new BCW study on Generation Alpha — kids born from 2010-2024 — finds brands will need to focus on equality, purpose and in-person experiences to reach what is expected to be the largest generation in history.

To further better understanding of the cohort — and maximize opportunities for brands — the survey of 1,012 Gen A children and their parents, called “Decoding Gen A: Why Business Can’t Afford to Wait,” delved into the preferences of Gen A, which is expected to reach more than 2 billion people and have a global economic footprint exceeding $5.46 trillion in the next five years — surpassing millennials and Gen Z combined.

They are the most racially and ethnically diverse generation to date and are more likely to be raised in non-conformist households. More than 17% of Gen A surveyed reported having friends who are LGBTQ.

The survey found that while Gen A acknowledges differences, they are most likely to describe their friends based on personality traits. Ninety percent of respondents used descriptors like “fun and playful,” “kind and supportive,” and “honest and trustworthy” when asked about their friends. Just 10% described their friends as “diverse and inclusive.”

“Engaging this interconnected, diverse generation demands a nuanced polycultural approach that not only considers who they are as individuals, but just as importantly, the cultural influence they have on one another, and on their mostly millennial parents,” BCW said.

The study both confirmed and shattered assumptions of Gen A, considered the first generation to be fully immersed in technology from birth.

Take, for instance, Gen A’s preferences on communications. The group prefers short-form digital communication (watching YouTube videos or texting) over the likes of watching TV or talking on the phone — yet not at the expense of mingling in real life.

“While brands have focused on engaging younger demographics via social media platforms like TikTok, Snapchat and Instagram, our Gen A respondents are sending a clear message that they value in-person engagements,” the study said.

Nearly 90% of respondents favor spending time with friends face-to-face, and almost 70% prefer attending school in person, creating an opportunity for companies, the study found. In turn, the study suggests brands create a "third place" — libraries, cafes, or parks among them — for Gen A to connect with friends and family outside of home and school.

In addition, the study uncovers a disconnect between parents' perceptions and Gen A's reality. Over 80% of parents believe their children view technology as the most significant force for societal change. However, Gen A prioritizes kindness, peacebuilding, racial equality, and environmental responsibility — with technology noticeably absent from their list.

This disconnect extends to brand values. While parents believe Gen A is unfazed by a brand's social stance, the reality is quite different. Brand purpose is paramount for Gen A. They value brands that promote fun, fairness, environmental consciousness, and charitable initiatives. Notably, Gen A from multicultural households prioritize brands that champion equality and representation.

“While Gen Z continues to dominate today’s headlines, understanding Gen A is a must to prepare your business for the demands of tomorrow. If you are looking for accurate insights on Gen A, you’ll have to hear it from them,” the study said.In turn, BCW offered three takeaways from the study to help brands be ready to connect with this generation. They are:

"Evolve your DE&I commitments to meet Gen A’s expectations for action. While the DE&I acronym is up for debate, the work of advancing diversity, equity, inclusion is not. Companies and brands must evolve their thinking of diversity to not only prioritize representation, but also take action to make sure people are treated fairly and with equity.

"Prioritize in-person experiences. Digital-native Gen A wants to hang out in-person. Brands and corporations have an opportunity to enhance Gen A engagement by providing a 'third place' for them and their parents to share in-person experiences and build community.

"And demonstrate your organization’s values. Clearly articulated and powerfully demonstrated brand values are important to Gen A. In the age of emerging technology, brands and corporations must not forget that the basics still matter."