Born between 2010 and 2025, generation alpha—gen Z’s younger siblings—are already making waves in the retail world. Read on for the top three ways they’re setting the pace for the future of retail.

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PacSun Kids, a gender-neutral clothing brand. Photography by Chris Martin

Genderless shopping

Brands and retailers are eschewing traditional gender categories in favor of gender-neutral products and lines. PacSun launched a new gender-neutral children’s clothing brand, PacSun Kids, in June 2021, followed by its own gender-neutral label, Colour Range, in September and its first gender-free kids’ clothing store two months later. In October 2021, California became the first US state to enforce genderless retail, thanks to a new law requiring large stores to have gender-neutral sections for toys and childcare. “The segregation of toys by a social construct of what is appropriate for which gender is the antithesis of modern thinking,” says Democrat assemblymember and the law’s co-author Evan Low.

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Nike FlyEase Play Pack adaptive kids' clothing

Inclusive aisles

Brands and retailers are also widening their offerings to be more inclusive of a range of physical and mental abilities. Nike launched hands-free sneakers and adaptive clothing for kids in January 2022. JCPenney launched children’s clothing with adaptive features in July 2021, and partnered with adaptive fashion marketplace Patti & Ricky to expand its range of adaptive accessories for kids. In June 2021, Headspace, Sesame Street, and Penguin Random House joined forces to launch Monster Meditation, a six-book series to “help children learn the fundamentals of mindfulness, meditation, and social and emotional learning.”

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Lego recycled brick

Sustainable play

Toy brands are leaning heavily into sustainability to appeal to younger generations. In May 2021, Mattel launched a program that lets families give back their old Mattel products so the materials can be reused to make new ones. And Lego unveiled its first prototype brick made from recycled plastic in June 2021.

Following in their older siblings’ footsteps, gen alphas are cementing the key retail ethics that gen Zers pioneered.

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