Parents Reveal Gen Alpha's Online Shopping Obsession

Gen Alpha And Online Shopping

Online shopping has been an indulgence for many adults for the last few decades. But what happens when your kids start seeing things online before asking you to whip out your credit card for them? Forget cute games on their iPads — Gen Alpha is now into online shopping.

According to our survey, as many as 70.4% of Gen Alpha parents who responded say their kids are already asking them to buy things they’ve seen online, such as toys, beauty products, or video games.

Worse still for parents is that many kids are spotting things online every day of the week, leading to more requests for the next big thing.

To learn more about future consumer behavior and Gen Alpha’s interests, we surveyed 500 parents of 7- to 14-year-olds. Questions included whether their children were asking them to buy things they’ve seen online, how often and what type of things they want, and how eco-friendly they are.

Key Takeaways

Our survey findings revealed these key takeaways about Gen Alpha’s online shopping habits:

  • 70.4% of surveyed parents of Gen Alpha children (ages 7-14) ask them at least once a week to buy things they see online, with 28% of parents in the survey reporting their children ask them daily.
  • 63.47% of surveyed parents of Gen Alpha children say their kids want fashion, beauty, or luxury products.
  • 37% of Gen Alpha children aspire to be social media influencers, their parents report.
  • 84.94% of Gen Alpha boys and 68.33% of Gen Alpha girls request video games seen online, according to their parents.
  • 65% of parents report increased spending on their children as kids spend more time online or on social media.

Read on for a detailed breakdown of these key survey findings.

70.4% of Parents Surveyed Shop for Gen Alpha Kids Online Weekly, With 28% of Parents Doing So Daily

Gen Alpha may be the youngest generation alive right now, but unlike previous young generations who grew up online, they’re getting a taste for online shopping, thanks to their ready access to social media platforms where products are marketed specifically to them.

And with 70.4% of the parents we surveyed saying their 7-to-14-year-olds want things they’ve seen online each week, we could even argue that Gen Alpha cohorts have become obsessed with the concept of online shopping.

In one sense, this figures. After all, Gen Alpha are using iPads and iPhones to view online content each day, which is why it’s no surprise that they’re now growing accustomed to the concept of online shopping.

Perhaps worryingly for 28% of parents of Gen Alpha children, their kids are asking for something they’ve seen online daily, while another 32% of parents surveyed say their kids beg them to buy something they’ve seen online “several times a week.”

Infographic of survey data covering Gen Alpha shopping trends

According to our survey, parents in the survey said there wasn’t a great deal of difference between boys and girls, neither was there much to split middle childhood and early childhood.

Instead, it seems that all kids under 15 are looking to buy stuff — lots of stuff, with just 8.25% of surveyed parents reporting that their 12-to-14-year-olds request something they’ve seen online less than once a month and only 4.95% of parents say their 6-to-11-year-olds do the same thing.

Worse still, many of the things that children are asking for are high-end products, with as many as 26.93% of parents of Gen Alpha boys and girls reporting their kids ask for luxury items like watches and expensive jewelry.

For the rest of the article, we’ll dive into exactly what surveyed parents of Gen Alpha say their kids want them to buy, as well as how things like sustainability and brand authenticity are shaping the desires of young consumers.

63.47% of Parents Say Their Kids Want Beauty, Makeup, or Luxury Products

When we created our survey, we grouped an assortment of items into eight possible categories — and fashion, beauty, and makeup were among the highest-ranked categories.

Responses from 63.47% of surveyed parents of Gen Alpha indicated their children want these products after seeing them online, showing that Gen Alpha has shown a strong interest in skin and makeup care from a very young age.

When we asked parents in the survey to break this down by gender, 49.17% of parent respondents said it was girls, and 16.74% of parents said it was boys who desire these items.

Infographic of survey data regarding beauty and fashion influences

Gen Alpha is especially into vibrant and playful looks, which are often inspired by their favorite social media influencers, the surveyed parents said.

Indeed, the rise of social platforms like TikTok play a large role here, with Dove recently launching its “The Gen A Anti-Aging Talk” on TikTok to address beauty anxieties and promote positive body image among young girls, using the platform to win youngsters over to their brand from a young age.

“Retail therapy is real, and it’s transitioned to the digital world. Children and teenagers have never been immune to the pulls of advertising, but in an online world, the want to get new stuff is supercharged, no matter what our age. However, this has certainly been made worse by advertising in social media apps, like TikTok,” said HostingAdvice consumer technology expert Christian de Looper.

Digital engagement is, of course, already high among kids who use platforms like TikTok and YouTube, but it’s important to note that Gen Alpha values authenticity and community-driven content over traditional influencer marketing.

They’re much more likely to trust recommendations from online communities and user-generated content than traditional forms of advertising, which underscores the need for beauty and luxury brands to adapt their strategies accordingly.

What’s also interesting is that, while it’s girls that almost solely show a desire for makeup and beauty products, 39.75% of parents of Gen Alpha boys said their sons are interested in the latest fashion. Almost half (49.17%) of parents of Gen Alpha girls say their daughters still dominate on this front, though.

37% of Parents Surveyed Say Their Kids Want to be Social Media Influencers

Gen Alpha may not have graduated high school yet, but 37% of surveyed parents of Gen Alpha say their children tell them they want to be seen as influencers, at least among their peers.

This is surely driven by Gen Alpha’s deep engagement with social media and digital platforms from a young age. These young people are now at the point that they feel confident they can grow their own audience and develop a strong relationship based on authenticity and trust.

Age seems irrelevant when it comes to who can be an influencer, especially if we consider the Garza twins, Koti and Haven, who, despite being only 7 years old, have already amassed millions of followers by sharing their skincare routines and additional fashion content.

37.50% of the parents in our study with children 6-11 said their kids are interested in creating user-generated content for brands. Another 37.16% of surveyed parents with kids 12-14 said their children have the same aspiration.

Infographic displaying survey data regarding percent of Gen Alpha who aspire to be influencers

There are platforms like Zigazoo that are helping with the emergence of child influencers, connecting them with brands that are leveraging Gen Alpha to promote their products.

It’s working, too, with as many as 55% of surveyed parents of Gen Alpha expressing that their kids want to buy products endorsed by their favorite influencers, which highlights the critical role that youngsters can now play in a brand’s marketing strategies.

Surveyed parents of both boys and girls say their kids feel confident enough to be influencers, with 39.75% of parents of Gen Alpha boys and 35% of parents of Gen Alpha girls saying their children desire to collaborate with brands.

21% of Surveyed Parents Say Their Gen Alpha Children Want Eco-Friendly Stuff

The world is more green conscious than ever — and it turns out that it’s not just adults who are concerned about the welfare of our planet.

According to our survey, 21% of parents of Gen Alpha said their children want eco-friendly stuff, which demonstrates a strong awareness of sustainability issues among 7- to 14-year-olds.

It also means that the very youngest generation is a key driving force behind various industries and brands who are adapting their way of thinking, implementing eco-friendly practices and doing the right things for our planet.

After all, the future of everything belongs to the youngest.

The fashion industry has come under fire in recent years for not being sustainable enough and it’s Gen Alpha who are demanding greater transparency.

This generation prefers brands that use eco-friendly materials like organic cotton, bamboo, and recycled fabrics for their clothing, and they want more transparency in the supply chain.

Infographic of survey data regarding percent of Gen Alpha who want eco-friendly products

Parents can be proud that the gender split is as close as it can get, with 20.91% of surveyed parents saying their boys aged 7-14 look out for eco-friendly products, and 22.08% of surveyed parents reporting their Gen Alpha girls do the same thing.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, though, only 17.91% of surveyed parents said their very young Gen Alphas (6-11) showed a taste for eco-friendly products, while 27.32% said their children in early adolescence (12-14) showed the same interest.

This highlights the fact that, as children grow a little older and gain more knowledge of the world around them, their desire for something is punctuated somewhat by social and ethical considerations.

Gen Alpha’s preference for sustainability is tied to the fashion industry, but it also extends beyond it and is currently influencing the beauty and personal care industries. Indeed, many younger consumers consider the environmental impact of packaging before they make a purchase.

84.94% of Parents of Gen Alpha Boys Say Their Sons Want Video Games

Perhaps the least surprising result of our survey was that 76% of surveyed parents of Gen Alpha kids say their children are asking them to buy them video games that they’ve seen online.

Video games are, of course, extremely popular among youngsters, with more than 3 billion video gamers worldwide — over one third of the total global population.

Video games, however, are also expensive, with the average price in the U.S. set at $69.99.

If we combine responses from the 76% surveyed parents of Gen Alpha kids who say their children are asking for a video game with the 27.5% of parents of Gen Alpha kids who are asking their parents for something they’ve seen online each day of the week, it’s easy to see how this can put a huge pressure on mum and dad.

Kids may not be asking specifically for video games each day of the week — but it’s easy to conclude that they’ll be asking for them a lot.

Infographic displaying survey data regarding gender-specific trends in online shopping habits

Most surveyed parents (84.94%) said it’s boys who most often ask for video games they’ve seen online while 68.33% of parents in the survey say it’s girls asking for video games.

But the fact that the numbers are high for both genders demonstrates a strong — and growing — interest in digital entertainment, which can also include the gaming consoles themselves, mobile apps and streaming services.

What’s more, age isn’t a distinguishing factor. More than three-quarters (78.38%) of surveyed parents of children 6-11 said their kids ask them for a video game they’ve seen advertised or promoted online, while 73.77% of surveyed parents of children 12-14 said the same.

If this suggests anything, it’s that interest in video games wanes a little once a child enters early adolescence — but the number is still extremely high and probably won’t be of much comfort to cash-strapped parents.

Just 12.11% of Surveyed Parents Say Their Children are Interested in Diet and Fitness Products

Truth be told, it would be worrying if 7- to 14-year-olds were obsessed about their diets the same way middle-aged adults are.

According to the results of our survey, it turns out that children aren’t that interested in dietary products, with just 12.11% of total respondents saying their Gen Alpha children express a desire to purchase items related to diet and fitness online.

This means that, out of all the options we added to our survey, “diet and fitness products” came a resounding last, ranking way below the second-to-last option, which was eco-friendly products (21.50%).

Infographic of survey data displaying age-specific trends in online shopping habits

The numbers in our survey are fairly even when we break things down by gender, with 12.50% of parents of Gen Alpha kids reporting their girls want diet and fitness products and 11.71% of surveyed parents saying their boys ask them for the same type of things.

That said, 15.85% of surveyed parents of children 12-14 said their kids are interested in diet and fitness products, while only 9.80% of parents of 6-to-11-year-olds said the same. This suggests that older children are more aware of societal pressures and the often predatory nature of the diet and fitness industry.

65% of Parents Spend More on Their Children

It’s clear that Gen Alpha is into buying things online. But how easily are parents giving in to their desires (and demands)? And is that behavior creating a costly financial headache?

Now that Gen Alpha is spending time online and using social media more and more and picking out things they’d like mum and dad to buy, we thought we’d ask the parents whether their spending on stuff for their kids has increased.

As it turns out, 65% of total respondents said they now spend more money on their children.

Infographic displaying survey data regarding parental cost of Gen Alpha's online activity

Twelve percent of parents say they spend over 50% more than they used to on things for their kids, while 27% say they spend up to 50% more.

Another 26% of parents in our survey reported a spending increase on things for their kids of up to 19%, while 28% said they don’t really spend more or less than they used to before their kids got into social media and started to see things online that they’d quite like to buy.

Any decreases in total spending?

Of parents who took our survey, 7% said they’d noticed a decrease in spending, but only 1% of all parents we surveyed said they spend over 50% less on their children than they did before the rise of social media aimed at kids.

Evidently, most parents are struggling with higher spending on their kids — and it doesn’t matter how old their children are. According to survey results, 64% of parents of 6- to 11-year-olds say they’re spending more than ever, while 68% of parents with children 12-14 say the same thing.

This demonstrates that any time spent online for any child is generating rising costs for their mums and dads.

However, while only 4% of parents of 12-to-14-year-olds reported a decrease in spending, 9% of parents with children 6-11 reported a decrease. As expected, the numbers are super low for parents who said they are spending less than 50% than they did before — just 1% of parents of 6-to-11-year-olds and 2% of parents with children 12-14.

Final Thoughts

The days of asking parents for a bat and ball are long gone. Our survey of 500 parents shows that 70% of respondents say their Gen Alpha children are asking mum and dad for something they’ve seen online. And as many as 63.47% of surveyed parents said their children want beauty, makeup, fashion and even high-end luxury products.

However, it’s not just expensive material things that kids want, with over 20% of parents of 6- to 14-year-olds saying their children want eco-friendly products and over 37% of parents reporting their kids want to forge a career as a social media influencer themselves.

Ultimately, though, parents may have a job keeping their kids at bay when it comes to online spending. Children are asserting their independence with their wants and needs, getting more hands-on.

Inspired by brands like Dove that know exactly how to engage with Gen Alpha and shortcut the path to purchase, the interests of this cohort range from clothing to fitness products and beyond. Parents need to be on their guard and watch out for behavioral changes among their tech-savvy kids, who need to be aware of the risks that come with online shopping, such as scams and FOMO.

“Often, these ads play on someone needing to look a certain way, and as such, it’s no surprise that many of the items kids and teens want are related to fashion, clothing, and makeup. This is a worrying trend. Studies have shown that social media can impact teens’ self-image, and clearly, it’s not getting any better, especially for young girls,” said Christian.

Methodology and Sources

Our survey involved 500 parents of Gen Alpha children aged 7-14. The survey aimed to understand the extent of online shopping among these children and gauge how much parents were spending as a result.

We collected data through online questionnaires, ensuring a diverse representation of demographics.

  • Participants: 500 parents of Gen Alpha children (ages 7-14)
  • Method: Online questionnaires

We analyzed the responses to identify trends and patterns in online shopping. The data was then segmented by age, gender, and other relevant factors to provide deeper insights.