Released today, new research from Beano Brain, the insight consultancy from Beano Studios, reveals fascinating insights into how families across the UK and USA are reacting to the global pandemic.
Since March Beano Brain has been tracking sentiment and behaviours of Gen Alpha, those born after 2010, and their Gen Z siblings and Millennial parents. To date the study has engaged with 3.5 million 7-14-year-olds on GDPR Kids and COPPA-compliant beano.com and conducted over 50 hours of in-depth interviews with its Beano Trendspotters panel.
The study highlights three initial trends which demonstrate how Gen Alpha, those born after 2010, are embracing key behaviours and traits to adapt to their new way of life:
Trend 1: Action Not Words
True to their activist natures, at the beginning of the pandemic worry and sadness did not spike for Gen Alpha, they went straight to solutions:
· Prior to lockdown, the number one priority for UK kids was for schools to shut down (57%) whereas the majority of US kids wanted a vaccination to make them feel better (57%)
· Kids and teens continue to show concern with 1 in 20 in the UK (5%) and US (4%) describing themselves as “worried” on 4 May
· But since then boredom has dominated, despite access to more free content than ever before, building to 1 in 4 kids and teens in the UK (23%) and US (26%) choosing “bored” to describe how they felt on 4 May
Qualitative research through the Beano Trendspotters panel, indicates that this boredom is reflective of brands and organisations not engaging or involving this audience. The rise in organic global trends such as decorating neighbourhoods with rainbows and #ClapforCarers shows how passionate this generation is to help.
“My favourite time of the week is Thursday at 8 o’clock. It’s the highlight of my week. We walk to the end of the drive and it feels so good” - Selina, 14
Trend 2: Virtual Playgrounds
Unsurprisingly, staying in touch with friends is high on the agenda for Gen Alpha. These digital masters have been quick to adapt their household’s communication platform choice, switching out traditional video-calling platforms for those that allow them to create new virtual playgrounds:
· Nearly two thirds of kids (60% UK/ 61% US) agreed that keeping in touch with their friends made them feel better about the virus
· Initially, FaceTime dominated for both UK (50%) and US (42%) kids and teens aged 7-16 but just one month later they have developed their preferred communication methods. Now platforms which allow kids and teens to play together and chat are seeing huge growth
· Gaming app Roblox has soared a month into lockdown, with a third of (31% UK and 34% US) kids using it to connect with friends each week by April
· In the US Xbox Live has also grown by 6% to 28% and in the UK HouseParty has gained traction for kids and teens growing 9% in March to 25% in April
· Google Hangout doubled for both audiences with 23% of US kids (up from 10%) and 18% of UK kids (up from 9%) using it in April
· After chatting and catching up (58%), gaming is the most common activity whilst on a video call for both UK and US kids (48%)
“I’ve been messaging my friends on Roblox when we are all playing together” – Amelia, 9
The brands and platforms that allow gaming, escapism as well as connection will continue to stick for kids and teens beyond this period of separation.
Trend 3: New Routines
Gen Alpha’s adaption to their “new normal” is best demonstrated by their creation of new routines in the home:
· Despite being together all day, the value on family time remains and strengthens as a priority with almost half of all kids asked (44%) wanting more great shows to watch together as a family
· Also, interestingly Gen Alpha’s focus on family time has seen them shifting their online behaviour. Kids are visiting beano.com earlier in the day, flattening the pre-lockdown 8pm peak as families come together in the evening to spend time together
· And some kids are thriving with their new home school routines. 46% of kids asked did not want to go back to school due to the freedom of working and taking breaks when suits them rather than sticking to rigid classroom routines
“Working at home I have no time worries. I can be flexible. I prefer it. I can come up with my own timetable?” – James, 15
Brands wanting to engage families need to focus on interaction and involvement – what can really bring the family together, enable them to have fun and help facilitate moments of shared enjoyment.
Pete Maginn, Director of Insight, Beano Brain, “The COVID-19 lockdown will be the defining moment of so many young lives but all too often Gen Alpha are underestimated and overlooked. Actually, their key traits and behaviours have equipped them to adapt to this pandemic quickly and possibly better than their Millennial parents. Being able to engage regularly now with 3.5 million kids and their families in the UK and US allows us to spot and really explore emerging trends quickly to help brands create meaningful communications for this engaged audience.”
Beano Brain is a specialist insights consultancy born from decades of understanding and engaging generations of kids and their families for the Beano brand. It now helps companies build their own connections with families using its in-depth knowledge of Gen Alpha, Gen Z and their Millennial parents. The COVID-19 study will continue to identify how behaviours and opinions of Gen Alpha and their families will continue to impact the way they interact and select brands, products and services. The study also aims to shine a light on causes important to families and as much as possible ensure that all kids and teens have a voice.