BUSINESS Meet Generation Alpha By Gwendolyn Plummer Sunday, January 29, 2023 12:59 AM RELATED CONTENT Eyewear Consumers Gen Z Grows Up The Millennial Market Gen X, Loyal But Anxious Online With Baby Boomers Connecting With the Silent Generation We’ve heard a lot about Gen Z and their cultural and economic power in the past few years, but, while these young adults retain a massive influence on culture, they are no longer the newest kids on the block. Generation Alpha follows Gen Z—Shopify defines it as “all children born in or after 2010—the same year the iPad was born.” This means the oldest members of Generation Alpha have become teenagers this past year, and have mostly lived a life marked by the massive impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Shopify reports that consulting agency McCrindle, which popularized the term Generation Alpha, estimates the generation “will number more than two billion” by 2025, making them “the largest generation in history.” Though Generation Alpha is still young, it would be shortsighted to discount the impact they have—and will continue to have—on the consumer landscape. A report from Getty CreativeInsights calls Generation Alpha “the new old fashioned,” citing the way the young group values family time and outdoor play, in part due to the amount of time they’ve spent at home due to COVID-19, interacting mostly with Gen Z siblings, Millennial parents and Boomer grandparents. Still, they are a particularly tech savvy group: many have done at least some amount of schooling online, and nearly all have grown up with technology as a central part of their everyday lives. Because these kids are growing up with Zoom, FaceTime and social media as central pillars of their lives, The Future of Commerce and Customer Engagement reports that Generation Alpha is more visual, more social and more global than earlier generations. Like their older Gen Z siblings and cousins, they’re also deeply concerned about “sustainability and the warming climate, social and policy change, and rebuilding our societies into more equitable spaces for all,” according to The Future of Commerce and Customer Engagement. As both of these groups age into the workforce and develop their consumer power, these social and environmental pillars will only continue to grow in importance. It does not seem to be a stretch to say that environmental and social causes should be an area of focus for all retailers moving forward—from frames made of bio acetates to ECPs running contact lens recycling programs, there’s no shortage of ways to get involved. The Future of Commerce and Customer Engagement also reports that Millennial nostalgia could play a role in how Generation Alpha shops. Heather Dretsch, North Carolina Poole College of Management assistant marketing professor, told The Future of Commerce and Customer Engagement, “Many Millennials want their kids to have the same experiences that they did as children, so they’re emphasizing play with Legos, Hot Wheels, Barbies, Fisher-Price toys and other brands with retro vibes and packaging.” Thus, brands with a long history of customer loyalty, and with looks that we might consider classic or retro, could be well-positioned for Generation Alpha. Generation Alpha is still young, and at this age most are not making purchases or decisions with their own money. As they grow into teenagers, though, Generation Alpha will begin to have a massive impact on both our economy and our culture. This is a large, powerful group that is facing a chaotic, climate warming and uncertain future—and when they shop, they want to do their part to make the world a little brighter.