Meet Generation Alpha

A group photo of several young children from different backgrounds taking a selfie

By Davina Ajana, Creative Insights Manager, Getty Images and Jacqueline Bourke, Head of Creative Insights for EMEA, Getty Images

Introducing Generation Alpha (Gen A). This is the first generation to be born entirely in the 21st century, between 2010 and 2025. Digital-first, they are becoming consumers much faster than previous generations and will have the greatest spending power in history.1 They will make up more than 1 of 7 people in the world, outnumber Baby Boomers by 2025 and start reaching adulthood by 2030. According to generations expert Dr Eliza Gilby, the average Gen A has over 100 photos of themselves posted on social media before their first birthday.2 So what kinds of visuals will best connect with this upcoming generation? 

The key to a brand’s future success lies in its customers’ loyalty, so how can this be gained with Gen A? The answer, for now, is through their parents – who are mostly Millennials and some Gen Xers who are waiting longer to start a family. Getty Images VisualGPS research shows that the top focus for Millennial parents is wellbeing.3 Millennial parents research the products they buy, and they have control over which brands Gen A is exposed to from an early age. They relate best to seeing detailed images of a product or service in a real-life setting that shows how it fits into people’s everyday lives. Furthermore, videos are the most preferred medium for both their Millennial parents and Gen Z siblings, followed by images. Social media will be a major gateway in reaching Gen A. So, when considering visuals for this generation, always think digital-first.

In visual storytelling, a child is often seen as a key metaphor for future growth. VisualGPS research reveals that visual stereotypes for children aged 5-7 years predominate and often rely on humor.4 Many visuals tell emotive stories through the concepts of imagination, discovery and play, relying on visual clichés such as dressing up as a superhero, scientist, astronaut or businessperson. However, when it comes to picturing Gen A authentically, it is worth considering the unique values that belong to this fast-growing generation and how this can be better reflected in your visual storytelling.

Technology Driven

With the rise of Web 3.0 platforms, Gen A will not be passive consumers. They are growing up with responsive technology, digital learning and creative platforms like TikTok, Roblox and Minecraft. Our VisualGPS research reveals their family members are extremely positive about emerging technologies, with nearly 8 in 10 Millennials and Gen Z consumers excited by the metaverse and crypto currencies.5 Gen A’s relationship with technology revolves around kid-centric innovation, creative storytelling, world building and virtual connections. This will influence the future of consumer experience. Forget their Millennial parents’ historic preference for minimalism, clean design and the ‘perfectly’ curated Instagram aesthetic.

As consumers, Gen A will respond to creative curiosity and a wider variety of visual styles that are playful, optimistic, messy and surprising. Brands like Nike have already tapped into this, leaning into Gen A’s imagination and hands on approach through integrations with Roblox, effectively handing over creative control to engage with them in a more authentic and adaptive way. The digital fluency of this generation means they will expect greater product innovation, marketing creativity and engaging them through emerging technologies.

Connected to the Environment

How this young generation experienced the Covid pandemic will have long-term impacts on their values. Named the ‘new old fashioned’, Gen A values family time and playing outdoors, despite their tech-savvy skills.6 Locked down at home, learning online and spending more time with family, their Baby Boomer grandparents have directly or indirectly influenced this generation, placing significant emphasis on outdoor play. VisualGPS research reveals that only 7% of visuals trending with customers show children with their grandparents (i.e., playing sport outdoors, gardening or bonding with each other).7 Consider visuals that show Gen A embracing family moments across generations which depicts how connected they are to nature.

Gen A are also environmentally conscious so visuals that focus on sustainability are also important. This generation heavily influences their parents’ spending patterns and environmental choices are often a key focus. For Gen A, reshaping the future means putting climate change high on their agenda. According to the Wunderman Thompson Commerce report, 63% of people say that saving the planet will be the central mission of their careers in the future.8 VisualGPS research shows that Millennials best connect with visuals that focus on sustainable consumption, showing them as eco-conscious consumers or running green businesses.9 While, Gen Z responds most to visuals of collective responsibility that shows the emotional gratification they get from bringing people together to take action for the environment. Personalizing sustainable stories for your target audience can be an effective way to engage deeper. Consider sustainable visuals that show how Gen A and their families are taking part in different ways to care for the planet.

Building Trust through Diversity and Inclusion

This generation also values the importance of inclusion. VisualGPS research has found that 72% of global consumers expect brands they buy from to support diversity and inclusion, with 80% loyal to brands who support their values.10 These skew even higher for younger generations. Gen A is set to be the most diverse generation ever, and brands can build trust as they age into consumers by understanding how to best represent them authentically in visuals. They ask important questions such as “what do we see?”, “what is the demographic and psychographic landscape of a country?” and “where are the opportunities for broader representation?”.

When focusing on visuals of Gen A, are you conscious of stereotypes related to their perceived gender? Have you considered that older adults and grandparents might be caring for this generation? Are you relying on mothers as the primary caregivers in the visual stories you are selecting? Are you showing children of all body shapes, sizes and abilities? Inclusive visual storytelling matters to Gen A and to be totally committed to DE&I is to look deeply into not only whether identities of this group are represented but how they are represented.

As brands prioritize diversity and inclusion, they need to ensure intent and education converts to action. With resources available like the DE&I Imagery Toolkits created by Getty Images and Citi, brands can help create authentic and multi-faceted depictions of people, as well as help accelerate inclusivity in their global marketing and advertising more broadly.

Image credit: Marko Geber/Getty Images


[1] Gen Z and Gen Alpha Infographic Update (McCrindle)
[2] Weekend Essay: Are financial advisers ready for Generation Alpha? (
[3] Getty Images VisualGPS
[4] Getty Images VisualGPS
[5] Getty Images VisualGPS
[6] The Future’s Bright: The Future’s Gen Alpha (Beano)
[7] Getty Images VisualGPS
[8] Generation Alpha (Wunderman Thompson)
[9] Getty Images VisualGPS
[10] Getty Images VisualGPS