Gen Alpha

Cracking the Code: Gen Alpha’s Consumer Habits

by Gooten Editorial Team on Aug. 29, 2023

Consumer behaviors will undergo a seismic shift soon, and Generation Alpha stands at the forefront of this transformation. Born between 2010 and 2025, Generation Alpha is more than just a demographic cohort; they represent the first generation to be entirely born and raised in the 21st century. This distinction has immense implications for industries across the board, and Print on Demand is no exception.

Gooten, a leading print-on-demand market player, understands this paradigm shift’s significance. Our expertise lies in custom products, personalized experiences, and customer-centric strategies. As POD fulfillment evolves, understanding the preferences and behaviors of Generation Alpha becomes vital for eCommerce businesses. After all, this emerging generation is shaping the present and will also determine the future of commerce and retail.

The print-on-demand industry is experiencing a continual boom, driven primarily by the preferences of Generation Alpha’s parents, grandparents, and older siblings—from Boomers to Zoomers. In the past five years, searches for “print on demand” have grown by 338%, indicating the growing interest in custom and personalized products. Here at Gooten, we’re well-positioned to cater to the needs and aspirations of any generational cohort your brand targets.

5-year print on demand keyword search queries trend
Source: Exploding Topics

Print-on-demand services, facilitated by digital technology, offer a more environmentally friendly alternative to traditional manufacturing. Generation Alpha’s emphasis on eco-consciousness positions the print-on-demand industry as a partner in pursuing a sustainable future.

Print-on-demand platforms, such as Gooten, empower eCommerce merchants and online store brands to help consumers express their unique identities through products that reflect their interests, passions, and affiliations. From apparel that celebrates cultural heritage to home decor that showcases personal beliefs, print-on-demand services offer a canvas for self-expression.

As Generation Alpha matures, its expectations from brands, organizations, and markets will undoubtedly impact the next several decades of human history. Their affinity for technology, commitment to sustainability, and demand for personalized experiences make them a driving force in the evolution of industries, including print-on-demand retail.

From Gen Alpha’s digital immersion to their commitment to sustainability, we explore how to cater to this emerging generation’s needs.

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Cracking Gen Alpha's Code: Table of Contents

Who is Gen Alpha?

Generation Alpha, born between 2010 and 2025, represents a distinct demographic cohort characterized by its unique positioning as the first generation to be entirely born and raised in the 21st century. Born amidst the technological and digital revolution, their lives have been intricately woven with the rise of this era’s inventions. 

Comprising individuals aged 8 to 15, Generation Alpha shares a profound familiarity with technology that sets them apart from their predecessors. They are the offspring of Millennials and the younger siblings of Generation Z, making their family ties to technological innovation even more pronounced.

Generation Alpha is already leaving a significant mark on the cultural landscape despite their youth. With the eldest members entering their early teenage years, their potential influence is palpable. These young individuals, progressively gaining purchasing power and shaping social media trends, are poised to become a pivotal force in shaping the future of consumer preferences and market dynamics. 

Their collective impact extends beyond mere numbers; as they continue to define and redefine their priorities, Generation Alpha offers a window into the evolving landscape of digital engagement and consumer behavior. Their characteristics and inclinations are pivotal for organizations to comprehend, for by understanding this emerging generation, businesses can cultivate strategies that resonate with their values and secure long-term relevance. 

As Generation Alpha matures, their distinct identity will continue to shape industries and societies, transcending their status as the youngest members of the generational continuum.


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Who Coined the Term "Gen Alpha"?

The term “Generation Alpha” was coined in 2008 by Mark McCrindle, an Australian demographer and social researcher, to denote the first generation born entirely in the third millennium.

Gen Alpha’s Population Trends

What sets this generation apart is their youth and deep immersion in the digital era from the very start of their lives. The oldest members of Gen Alpha were born shortly after groundbreaking innovations such as the iPad and Instagram were launched in 2010, making them true digital natives. In a world where social media, artificial intelligence, and even the metaverse concept are part of the norm, Gen Alpha is poised to be the most technologically literate and digitally engaged generation yet.

Projected to encompass a staggering 2.2 billion individuals by 2024, the influence of Generation Alpha is undeniable and far-reaching. Their prominence is set to reshape various aspects of society and the economy as they emerge as significant consumers and brand influencers. Even though many of them are still in primary school, their impact on their Millennial parents’ spending habits and brand preferences is notable.

While Generation Alpha may seem young to be considered a formidable consumer group, their influence should not be underestimated. Their sheer numbers, growing at a rate of over 2.8 million per week, coupled with their innate familiarity with technology, positions them as a unique generation poised to transform the digital landscape in the years to come. As Gen Alpha continues to mature, it will drive innovation, shape consumer trends, and usher in a new era where its digital acumen and perspectives will redefine engagement, communication, and commerce norms.

The Impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on Gen Alpha

Generation Alpha, often coined as the “Digital Natives” or “Tech Generation,” has had a unique introduction to the world of technology due to the unprecedented circumstances brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Unlike any previous generation, Alphas didn’t merely opt for technology – they became reliant on it. With widespread lockdowns disrupting their daily lives, Gen Alpha turned to their devices for entertainment, learning, communication, and social interaction. Virtual classrooms, Zoom calls, and online interactions became their norm, effectively shrinking their physical world while expanding their digital horizons.

These extraordinary circumstances have fostered a distinct outlook on technology among Generation Alpha. Their experience during the pandemic has led them to perceive technology as a tool for convenience and a fundamental part of their lives. This generation has grown up in an environment where technology is a constant companion, offering them ways to learn, connect, and engage their peers and family.

The pandemic-induced lockdowns provided Gen Alpha with an unexpected opportunity to spend more time at home with their Millennial parents. This prolonged togetherness allowed them to form deeper bonds with their families and engage in activities that span generations. From traditional hobbies to virtual schooling, Gen Alpha’s resilience and adaptability were shaped by the pandemic’s challenges.

As the first generation to grow up in a world profoundly touched by the COVID-19 pandemic, the behaviors, attitudes, and habits of Generation Alpha are anticipated to be uniquely shaped by these circumstances. The pandemic accelerated their familiarity with digital communication tools, reinforcing their identity as “Screenagers” who seamlessly navigate the virtual landscape. While their world physically contracted, their exposure to global cultures and experiences expanded through digital means, leading them to become the most globally connected generation.

Gen Alpha and Millennials

Generation Alpha, often affectionately called “mini-Millennials,” emerges as a generation that shares significant commonalities with its millennial parents, poised to be more closely aligned with them than the preceding Gen Z cohort. This alignment is substantiated by the fact that Generation Alpha is the first to be raised by millennial parents, a distinction that holds substantial influence over their shaping as consumers.

Generation Alpha may not possess disposable income, yet their potential shopping habits can be glimpsed through the lens of their millennial parents. A staggering 81% of millennial parents in the United States readily admit that their children wield considerable influence over their recent purchases. This prevailing influence underscores that Generation Alpha is already leaving its mark on eCommerce buying decisions despite its inability to financially transact independently.


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Some Gen Alpha's nicknames:

Gen A, Generation Glass, Upagers, Screenagers, The Alphas, Global Gen…

Generation Alpha showcases a divergence from contemporary concerns surrounding excessive screen time. Research surprisingly indicates that these young individuals are spending notably less time in front of screens than their millennial and Baby Boomer counterparts. With Generation Alpha dedicating approximately 3.6 hours per week to smartphones or tablets instead of the six to seven hours per week of Baby Boomers and Millennials, their measured digital engagement offers insight into their unique technological interactions.

Significantly, millennial parents heavily engage with social media platforms, and their children gain exposure to the digital realm at a remarkably early stage. This demographic exhibits a penchant for thorough product research before purchase, a tendency nurtured by a desire to provide the best for their offspring. Brands that gain high trust through in-depth parental analysis may enjoy an advantageous foothold in cultivating long-term loyalty among Generation Alpha.

A compelling dynamic exists within Generation Alpha’s penchant for nostalgia, mirroring their millennial parents’ affinity for revisiting the past. This phenomenon is projected to have an enduring impact on-screen user experiences and design aesthetics, as this nostalgia-centric mindset permeates their interactions with technology and influences their consumption preferences.

Despite Generation Alpha’s current dependence on their millennial parents, their impending adolescence introduces a phase of newfound autonomy and decision-making. This generation’s growth trajectory remains elusive, subject to the interplay of global developments and cultural shifts, which will ultimately shape their worldview and consumer habits. The “mini-Millennials” emerge as a fusion of the past and present, carrying forward the legacies and influences of their millennial progenitors

From Boomers to Zoomers: Cross-Generational Buying Habits

Continue your research by discovering insights into four other consumer cohorts—Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers.

Gen Alpha and Gen Z

Generation Alpha and Generation Z share a profound connection rooted in their dedication to pressing global concerns. Both cohorts are committed to sustainability, environmental well-being, social reform, and creating more inclusive societies. This alignment of values has significant implications for brands, necessitating incorporating social and sustainable elements into their marketing strategies. As governments grapple with the urgent matters these generations prioritize, Gen Z and Gen Alpha are inclined to rally behind brands that genuinely champion their beliefs.

Generation Alpha signifies the inaugural cohort fully immersed in the 21st-century digital transformation. In contrast, Generation Z spans from the mid-1990s to the early 2010s, weathering a period marked by economic, social, and political turmoil during their formative years. This contrast highlights Generation Alpha’s characterization as digital natives, adeptly embracing technology and social media. Conversely, Generation Z embodies independence, social consciousness, pragmatism, and a focus on financial stability and work-life equilibrium.

Despite their distinct upbringing, Generation Alpha and Generation Z converge on a shared commitment to sustainability. This shared ethos extends to their perspective on waste management, even if the former lacks direct control over household practices. This shared standpoint underscores their collective resolve to address broader sustainability issues, mirroring the sentiments of their Gen Z counterparts.

Generation Alpha occupies a unique standpoint, not as the originators of digital nativism—this distinction belongs to Generation Z—yet they possess an exceptional ability to swiftly adapt and embrace emerging technologies. This distinctive knack positions them as catalysts for rapid technological evolution, setting a precedent for forthcoming digital generations.

While Generation Alpha and Generation Z exhibit striking resemblances in characteristics, behaviors, and values, the former garners attention for its advanced technological aptitude. The infusion of technology into their upbringing underscores Generation Alpha’s potential to shape and navigate the digital era with unparalleled agility.

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Gen Alpha’s Principles and Beliefs

Generation Alpha is on the cusp of becoming the most diverse generation in history. Their unparalleled diversity will inevitably prompt them to hold brands to higher standards of inclusivity and representation. Shaped by their distinct experiences, Generation Alpha is poised to wield their unique perspective, having navigated the challenges of the pandemic and imbibed the vital lesson of prioritizing their holistic well-being.

Immersed in the rich tapestry of the world around them, Generation Alpha absorbs an impact that colors their worldview. Their upbringing in an environment that champions diversity defies the confines of simplistic categorizations based on gender, ethnicity, or religion. This tapestry of experiences has woven a fabric of versatility that distinguishes their perspectives.

Surprisingly mature for their age, Generation Alpha’s convictions on pressing global issues stand firm. An impressive 95% of them accord paramount importance to environmental stewardship. But beyond lip service, 38% of Generation Alpha children recognize the significance of recycling, far outpacing the corresponding figures for Millennials and Baby Boomers at 22%. This early-formed resolve hints at an even more steadfast stance as they mature, surpassing the fervor of prior generations.

What truly defines Generation Alpha is their innate sense of equity. A striking 93% staunchly believe that everyone, irrespective of appearance or identity, merits equal opportunities for a prosperous life. This unwavering commitment to acceptance and equality resonates with their dedication to inclusivity.

In the intricate mosaic of Generation Alpha’s traits, their enthusiasm for addressing climate change and environmental concerns remains unwavering. Their hearts and minds echo the imperative of safeguarding our planet for posterity. This eco-conscious ethos propels them into an era of sustainability and technological prowess.

A fusion of open-mindedness, collaboration, and technological finesse positions Generation Alpha as trailblazers poised to redefine societal expectations and demand corporate accountability. Nurtured in an era that reveres diversity and inclusivity, they possess the confidence to voice their beliefs and opinions, steering conversations in impactful directions.

As these tech-savvy individuals mature into tomorrow’s leaders, they will likely prioritize self-expression, uniqueness, and crafting personal brands, qualities their adeptness with social media channels fosters. Their inherent proficiency in technology and introduction to sustainability at a young age position them as catalysts for promoting environmentally aware transformation.

Gen Alpha’s Predicted Consumer Behavior

As Generation Alpha progresses into adulthood, their shopping patterns and inclinations are poised to combine digital and physical experiences. With roughly two-thirds of youngsters aged between eight and eleven having smartphone access, their digital immersion is unmistakable. Interestingly, despite their tech-savviness, 75% of Generation Alpha members are fond of the conventional in-store retail experience. This signifies their yearning for a comprehensive shopping journey that encapsulates tangible and virtual touchpoints. Retail establishments that embrace an all-encompassing approach are strategically positioned to cater to Generation Alpha’s diverse needs, ensuring seamless interactions across various platforms.

Post Beyond's Gen Alpha chart
Source: Post Beyond
Post Beyond's Gen Alpha Chart
Source: Post Beyond

Prominent brands specializing in products aimed at children are adopting inventive strategies to connect with Generation Alpha and their millennial parents. These endeavors are typically directed at parents, who sway considerably over purchasing choices.

The conscious awareness of social and environmental issues further characterizes Generation Alpha’s consumer tendencies. An impressive 66% of these emerging consumers gravitate toward companies committed to positively contributing to the world. This preference for ethical and sustainable practices reflects their upbringing in an era of discussions about climate change, inclusivity, and societal equity. Brands with these values will undoubtedly resonate with Generation Alpha, securing their allegiance.


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Gen Alpha will comprise 11% of the workforce by 2030, per The Future of Commerce's report.

For brands striving to resonate with Generation Alpha, mere product offerings aren’t enough; authenticity is paramount. Generation Alpha individuals are keen to discern insincerity and hold genuine connections in high regard. Their emphasis on individuality, connectivity, and sustainability is shaping their expectations from brands. A personalized approach, incorporating bespoke products and experiences, has the potential to leave an enduring impact on Generation Alpha consumers.

As Generation Alpha advances, its outlooks and anticipations will significantly shape retail services, including print-on-demand businesses. Brands that authentically embrace diversity, inclusivity, and purposeful social engagement will stand out in this new era of consumerism, propelled by Generation Alpha’s distinctive attributes.

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Per Adweek's recent article, about 93% of boys aged 8 to 11 and 79% of girls aged 12 to 15 played their games monthly.
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Custom Solutions for a Custom-Made Generation

Gooten is keenly attuned to Gen Alpha’s generational shift. Our expertise in personalized products and customer-centric strategies positions us as a strategic ally for eCommerce businesses targeting Gen Alpha. As this emerging generation matures, their preferences—characterized by diversity, inclusivity, and sustainability—hold the key to future success.

Generation Alpha’s digital immersion, affinity for authenticity, and distinct purchasing behaviors demand a fresh approach. Gooten’s seamless fulfillment capabilities bridge the gap between digital fluency and the desire for tangible experiences merchants need to be able to offer the consumers of tomorrow and their parents.

In partnership with Gooten, businesses can harness Generation Alpha’s potential, embracing their values and preferences. As this generation ascends, we represent a vital conduit for your online store to navigate the nuanced landscape of fast-evolving commerce trends.