The "Z+Alpha Generation" is rapidly rising in the consumer market. What trends will this digital-native generation, with a massive impact on the content culture, create in the future? Join the conversation between pop columnist Kim Tae-hoon and Ho Yeong-seong, director of the DAEHAK NAEIL 20s Research Institute, as they explore these developments.
The Dissolution of Gen MZ?! Here comes the "Z+Alpha Generation!"
The combination of Millennials and Generation Z, previously bundled together as the Generation MZ, has now diverged, and the content market leader Generation Z has converged with the emerging Generation Alpha, giving rise to the term "Z+Alpha Generation." Generation Z refers to those born from the 1995 through the mid-2010s, while Generation Alpha spans the early 2010s to the early 2020s. Compared to Generation Z, whose characteristics are relatively well-defined, Generation Alpha is still at a stage where it is premature to ascribe a definitive description.
A New Generation to Create and Lead Trends
A common trait shared by both of these generations is their familiarity with AI and digital technologies, having had minimal experience with analog devices. Thanks to this, they quickly adapt to new technologies and are adept at using images and videos for communication. In contrast to previous generations that often considered success to be attending prestigious universities, these new generations are more interested in their individuality and identity. One of their characteristics is creating a new profession leveraging their unique talents. Many see these talents as assets and are increasingly finding diverse ways to generate income through them.
The content predominantly consumed by the Z+Alpha Generation is undoubtedly "short-form." Short-form content encompassing various subjects, such as dancing, singing, mukbang, humor, daily life, etc., in videos that are less than a minute is gaining popularity. In an actual survey, 95.1% of teenagers said they had used short-form content in the last six months.
In other words, the majority of teenagers have used short-form. Unlike Generation M, who prefers sophisticated and aesthetic content, Generation Z prefers short and impactful content and regards short-form content as finished content, not as a preview or a teaser for the full version.
▲The star behind the global Slickback Challenge fever, achieving over 200 million views with a short-form video posted just for fun. He was interviewed on You Quiz on the Block.
The Z+Alpha Generation, at the center of trends, isn't hostile to new digital technologies but actively utilizes, creates, and spreads new content instead. AI profile pictures, which have recently gained tremendous popularity among the Z+Alpha Generation, are representative examples of this.
▲The application that creates profile pictures made with AI synthesis gained such immense popularity that it caused the respective server to crash.
Specialized Marketing to Reach the Z+Alpha Generation
As the Z+Alpha Generation values individuality, it is becoming increasingly challenging to define their segmentation (groups of consumers with similar tastes). We are now entering an era where the concept of "national favorites" and "popular brands" is fading away. Consequently, companies are finding marketing and mass production more demanding tasks.
Due to the individualistic nature of the Z+Alpha Generation, outliers with unique and niche tastes are emerging as trendsetters. There have been cases where unconventional content was used to target such minority groups. For example, last year's sports newspaper that reported the "LG Twins" victory in the Korean Baseball Series after 29 years became a nationwide sell-out and was even resold at significantly higher prices in the secondhand market. Similarly, micro-trends among minority groups, such as newspapers that were previously overlooked, have now become trends worth noting.
▲A scene from the TVING ORIGINAL series, OUR GAME: LG TWINS.
While a shift in generations is taking place, the content market is also evolving day by day. We anticipate the release of even more refreshing and unique content in the future, closely following the changes and trends led by the Z+Alpha Generation.
※BEHIND TALK was created based on Con Ssul Ting from CJ ENM’s YouTube channel.