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From the Silent Generation to Generation Alpha, consumer attitudes and priorities are consistently shifting as retailers attempt to gain a handle on what makes each group tick and what is important to them when searching for new products. Consumers as young as 10 years and under (Gen Alpha) have their own set of purchasing criteria, such as influencers on social media, while Millennials may presently represent the most powerful and influential consumer group overall.

Generation Alpha, Generation Z, Millennials, Generation X, Baby Boomers, and the Silent Generation. All of these groups have their own unique beliefs and characteristics that are reflected in their purchasing decisions.

According to data from HubSpot on “How Each Generation Shops in 2023,” social media, internet search and YouTube ads are key for reaching Gen Z and Millennials, while TV, internet search, and retail are favored by Gen X and Boomers. As far as social media, Boomers, Millennials and Gen X all use Facebook more than any other app.

When it comes to making purchase decisions, all generations are highly influenced by price, quality and product reviews, according to the HubSpot report. Gen Z, Millennials and Gen X also value brands that have active communities around them and a social media presence. Additionally, whether a percentage of the proceeds from their purchase will be donated to charity is highly important to Gen Z.

Further, Gen Alpha (the generation following Generation Z that currently includes all children born in or after 2010) is heavily influenced by technology and the Gen Z creators who dominate their feeds, according to Shopify. But the events of the past two years will have a significant impact on who they are. This generation of youth has been unofficially dubbed “Gen C,” as in Generation COVID, because of how much their lives will be shaped by this pandemic.

Baby Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964), are part of a large generation that continues to have a significant impact on the economy as they top the list of generational wealth. Baby Boomers may embrace technology, but are a bit more skeptical about newer technologies, like artificial intelligence. They also shop from brands they trust and value high-quality customer service.

Another group that has tremendous influence is Millennials, who wield serious buying power. Millennials’ buying power currently surpasses that of other generations, and older members of this cohort are now poised to move into their prime earning and spending years. Millennials are also the most educated generation. Like many generations, Millennials like to feel a connection with the companies they support.

Generation Z (those born between 1997 and 2012) and Generation X (those born between 1965 and 1980) also represent significant buying power and influence, and like the other generations, display their own sets of values and beliefs when it comes to consumer spending. The Silent Generation (those born between 1928 and 1945) may be the most challenging generation to reach, as they tend to hold to traditional values and often display financial prudence.

As the calendar turns to 2024, Vision Monday takes a closer look at consumer attitudes, by both age groups and lifestyles, to see what the key influences are in their purchasing decisions.

For this feature, VM tapped into the latest consumer research for insights into today’s consumers and reached out to a range of ECPs to get their thoughts on what makes today’s consumer groups tick.