Generation Alpha: Children Today, Shoppers Tomorrow

Generation Alpha
24.02.2022 research

Screenagers, iGen, Glass Generation, Generation Alpha. This generation has come under different names, but one thing stays the same: they are the first to be fully born into a fully digitalized era. This generation has more access to more products and services than, perhaps, all other generations combined. As a result, Alphas had already become more aware and engaged with brands, products to a greater extent, thus becoming consumers at a very young age.

To prepare for this coming wave of future’s most influential shoppers, it’s crucial for you,  grocery retailer, to gain insights into their shopping dynamics, how they think and what kickstarts their minds.

Buckle up! We’re taking a ride into the world of Gen Alpha. 

Generation Alpha: The New Old-Fashioned

Generation Alpha are children of Millennials parents and the younger siblings of the current Gen-Z’ers. This means they are born somewhere between 2010 and 2025. Despite being born much later compared to their siblings – Gen Z – it only took Gen Alphas less than 10 years to master their own shopping activities.

However, despite living in an era where information, entertainment, products and services are readily accessible at their fingertips, they are surprisingly more “offline” than their Gen Z siblings. According to Spectra Insights, 48% of Gen Alphas spend more time away from their screens compared to 29% of their Gen Z siblings. In other words, members of this generation tend to prefer family time and outdoor plays over digital devices. Thus, 42% of Gen Alpha enjoy handicraft activities compared to 32% of Gen Z (Spectra Insights, 2020). This will open plenty of doors for retailers to bring the power of play into loyalty campaigns that can fulfill this generation’s needs. 

Read: How to Win Over the Gen Y?


Digital yet Analogue: Physical shopping takes the crown

While Alphas are the 2nd generation of digital natives, their relationship with the online world isn’t exclusive – physical shopping still plays a dominant part in their pastime. More than 75% of Gen Alpha have reported that they enjoy the experience of physical retail shopping (Wunderman Thompson Insights, 2019). Surprisingly, more than 60% of them prefer buying products at a physical store rather than online. 

One unique aspect that you should note is that this generation loves playground experiences/activities. with more than a quarter of them preferring supermarkets and stores that have a built-in playground area where they could play with toys and try out products. This only adds up to the fact that Generation alpha is looking for more than just a nice place to do their groceries. They are, in fact, seeking engaging experiences!

In addition, with nearly one-third of them shop with their parents in a supermarket, Gen Alpha is considered to be one of the most influential sources of Millennials’ shopping. According to Velocitize Reports in 2020, 81% of children under 12 years old were found to be influencing family purchases, adding up to more than USD 500 billion in purchases per year. 

Read also: Understanding Children’s Influence on Parents Purchase Decisions

What does Gen Alpha Care about when they shop?

Similar to Gen Z’ers, sustainability and environmental protection are the main driving force of this generation’s purchases. Research found that 63% of Alphas are more interested in businesses that actively promote environmental protection, such as having low-waste operations, carbon-neutral policies (Wunderman Thompson Insights, 2019). Thus, Alphas are more likely to purchase products with recyclable packaging and sustainable materials, with nearly one in five preferring buying products that are not made from or packaged in plastic. In fact, according to WTC Reports, 66% of Gen Alpha members want to shop in businesses that strive to contribute to a better, more sustainable world. 

Following the steps of their Gen Z siblings and Millennials parents, Gen Alpha tend to seek and engage deeply in stories that explain what goes into the goods they buy, such as fair employment practices, ethical values, moral codes implemented during the production process. This is a huge opportunity for grocery retailers to engage with shoppers over common values, by showing commitment to a better world.

The main takeaway for grocery retailers

Overall, what sets this generation apart from prior generations is their perspective on the online and offline world. Alphas don’t see a definitive line between eCommerce and physical in-store shopping, but rather, they view it as different elements and ways to enjoy the shopping experience. That said, to win over Generation Alpha, retailers must make use of omnichannel marketing strategies that incorporate both online and offline channels to get their messages across these new waves of young shoppers. Sounds like a perfect time for a custom-made loyalty program!

Lucky for you, here at UNGA, we specialize in creating bespoke, short-term loyalty campaigns targeted at all generations, including Generation Alpha and their Millennials parents. Get in touch with us to learn more about our fun educational concepts, toys, and games specifically designed to excite your shoppers! 


Read more about UNGA's services for grocery retailers.

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