Generation Alpha: Little People, Big Influence

The Power of Rising Influencers in Shaping Retail Trends

Generation Alpha: Little People, Big Influence

It looks like we have work to do to appeal to a younger generation, early sentiment analysis describes our brand as a 'big dummy poo poo head.'

Generation Alpha is marking a new era of consumer influence. As digital natives, they’re growing up in a world saturated with technology, posed to reshape the retail landscape. In this article, we dive into the dynamics of Gen Alpha’s upbringing by millennial parents, their evolving perceptions of work and consumption, and the implications for retailers seeking to capture this influential market.

Defining a Generation

Born between 2010 (the same year the iPad was born) and 2024, Generation Alpha represent our youngest generation — most of them are under the age of 13 and many have yet to be born. By 2025, projections suggest that Gen Alpha’s global population will exceed two billion, making them the largest generation in history, wielding significant influence. Notably, they are the first generation to be born entirely in the 21st century when technology is ubiquitous and integrated into nearly every aspect of our lives, earning them the moniker of “digital natives.” To better understand who Gen Alpha is, who they will grow up to be, and the outcome for retailers, it’s important to examine their parents – millennials – are shaping them and vice versa.

Millennial Parenting Shifts

Millenials have catalyzed shifts in parenting and work culture. In comparison to older generations, millennials delayed major milestones like marriage, buying houses, and becoming parents. We’re now in the stage where more millennials are having kids, and the way they’ve chosen to parent is influencing the youngest generation.

40% of millennials are now parents1

In the aftermath of the pandemic and widespread adoption of WFH culture, millennials’ priorities shifted, affording them the flexibility to parent outside of traditional work hours. As a result, Gen Alpha is primed to perceive WFH as a norm and will likely balk at a strict 9-to-5, on-site workplace position in the future. In addition to the structure of jobs changing, so too will the types of jobs as we experience increasing advancements in tech, globalization, and greater interest in climate change and sustainability.

65% of Gen Alphas will work at jobs that don’t exist today. 35% of Gen Alphas said the most important part of a job would be helping others.

Perceptions of work as uber-flexible extend to Gen Alpha’s expectations that retail and life as a consumer should also be hyper-available (both physically and digitally) and customizable. Gen Alphas won’t be tied down by employment constraints, so they certainly will not bend to the restrictions set by retailers misaligned with their needs and desires.

Shopping habits present another area of influence. Millennial parents are increasingly more health-conscious than previous generations, diligently researching products they buy and expose their kids to — Scandinavian-style wooden toys, organic baby clothes, and clean-ingredient kids’ snacks are top of mind for millennial parents. In 2021, an impressive 81% of Generation Alpha parents acknowledged their children’s sway over consumption decisions, making them more environmentally aware.4 The attention to “clean,” sustainable, and transparent products will inevitably be superimposed on Gen Alpha, impacting the way they will shop and their broader environmental awareness.

Gen Alpha demonstrates a desire to be engaged with issues that matter to them – for many, that means climate change, but for many others, that means Paw Patrol. In fact, 70% of Parents of Gen Alpha say they have made purchases influenced by their kids’ favorite show or character5. Monitoring the future consumer landscape is critical, even if those trends do not currently impact a specific industry. Gen Alpha is young but wants to be engaged in a way that is responsive to their concerns and topics of interest.

Perspectives and Behaviors

Gen Alpha will demonstrate a level of social awareness beyond any generation we have seen thus far. They are predicted to be the most educated and entrepreneurial generation.n a world with greater acceptance and understanding of diversity, they are expected to continue to push for greater inclusivity and social justice. Proficient technology users from a young age, Gen Alpha will grow up as super-informed and constantly connected consumers, meaning brands will have to think fast and act fast to keep up. Retailers beware — Generation Alpha is coming.

About Wayfind

Lost and in need of guidance? That’s why we created Wayfind—the WD blog designed to be your beacon in this rapidly evolving world. In these short, thought-provoking reads, you’ll discover insights into the minds of your consumers and be inspired to go out into the world to create your own extraordinary experiences.

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