What Are Gen Z Shopping Habits: Exclusive Insights for 2024

With over 60% of Gen Z preferring online shopping, it's clear that their digital-first approach is reshaping retail.

Michaela Ivanova
December 14, 2023

With over 60% of Gen Z preferring online shopping, it's clear that their digital-first approach is reshaping retail. As digital natives, they have distinct shopping habits shaped by their comfort with technology and online platforms.

Gen Z's estimated $143 billion spending power in the US alone makes them a key demographic for retailers.

This comprehensive guide delves into Gen Z's shopping habits, offering insights into:

  1. Attitude to spending
  2. Online shopping
  3. Tech-enabled experiences
  4. Omnichannel retail
  5. Social media presence
  6. Content preferences
  7. Sustainability and social responsibility

Attitude to spending

Various studies reveal a keen sense of budgeting and value-driven spending. Gen Z have mixed perception of their financial stability. 41% of them reported an improvement year over year, but 31% said the contrary.

Gen Z is more likely to spend more on certain items, particularly during the holiday season. Another research by Pymnts indicates a 55% increase in their gift spending compared to the previous year.

Their desire to spend in certain areas doesn’t mean they are not affected by inflation and financial instability, though. 41% of them cut back on groceries and 50% have tightened their budgets for retail products.

They often participate in loyalty programs as a way to decrease costs. More than 75% of these programs are in sectors like beauty, food and beverage, and health.

Tech-enabled experiences

Frictionless payment is the top desired shopping innovation by Gen Z. Additionally, digital wallets are becoming increasingly popular among the young population. The convenience and security aspects are among the key reasons for this shift.

Examples include Venmo, Apple Pay, and Cash App. Another notable trend in Gen Z's online shopping behavior is the rising popularity of "Buy Now, Pay Later" (BNPL) services.

Gen Z puts high value on personalized shopping experience. With the latest AI advancements in e-commerce, retailers can take this to the next level by taking into account individual preferences, browsing history, favorite brands, saved filters and more.

Gen Z are also captivated by immersive experiences such as augmented or virtual reality. Both open new doors in shopping and entertainment.Retailers that offer interactive experiences, like in-store customization or virtual try-ons, will surely attract Gen Z customers.

The Gen Z shopping experience is not just about the product—it's about the journey. This generation's preferences are shaping the future of retail, making it more dynamic, inclusive, and tech-forward.

most wanted innovations by gen z

Omnichannel retail

Gen Z consumers don't limit themselves to a single platform or method when making purchases. They seamlessly integrate multiple channels throughout their shopping journey.

Here’s the place to note, Gen Z's engagement with technology is significant. Smartphones are predominantly used — 95% of American Gen Z own a smartphone. Тhis generation values digital first impressions even more than in-person interactions.

Approximately 45% of Gen Z consumers prefer online shopping primarily due to its convenience. Clothing and shoes are the top categories for Gen Z's online purchases, with 57% buying these items over the internet.

Gen Zers have a diverse customer journey. This process often starts with product research on social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram. It then progresses to watching product reviews on YouTube and comparing prices on multiple websites. The culmination is making the purchase using a mobile payment app.

The omnichannel approach reflects Gen Z's desire for a comprehensive shopping experience. They need a range of options to gather information, compare products, and make informed purchasing decisions.

Social media presence

Social media plays a key role in the life of the young generation. The Zoomers spend significant time on platforms that offer visually rich and dynamic content.

TikTok is such a platform with 74% of Gen Z using it for search and 51% preferring it over Google. They don’t want to read to get information. Instead, they prefer to watch a quick video.

gen z uses tiktok for search

Instagram with its focus on lifestyle content catches the attention of Gen Z too. YouTube is often used for product reviews and unboxing videos which play a crucial role in the decision-making process.

Pinterest seems to attract the young generation too. The platform that used to be popular among Millennials and then almost died, is now living a new life with Gen Z. Fashion inspiration is what it’s most appealing for.

The influence of social media on Gen Z’s shopping habits is crucial. 68% of Gen Z consumers use social media to search for products, and 22% complete purchases through these platforms.

A recent study discovered that 3 out of 4 Gen Z consumers plan to make purchases on social media. This indicates a growing reliance on social media platforms not just for browsing or inspiration, but for actual purchasing decisions.

Content preferences

This inclination towards certain types of content affects how Gen Z interacts with brands and makes purchasing decisions.

In the context of shopping, Gen Z prefers funny and light-hearted content. They also need to feel inspired and well informed. Here are two valuable insights from the Gen Z in 2023 report:

  • 58% desire humorous content
  • 52% seek inspiration

Gen Z are known to multitask which impacts how they consume content. That’s why easy to digest formats are the top choice.

Their reliance on influencers also plays a crucial role in their content consumption and shopping habits.

Sustainability and social responsibility

Gen Z's attachment to sustainability plays a significant role in their shopping preferences. This generation is increasingly conscious of the social and environmental impact of their purchasing decisions.

They are more likely to support and spend with companies that demonstrate a commitment to environmental and social responsibility. This trend is reflective of Gen Z's broader concern for issues such as climate change, ethical manufacturing, and social justice.

This demand has led to a rise in eco-friendly mindset among retailers that extends beyond just the products themselves. It also includes aspects like eco-friendly packaging, sustainable delivery, and transparent supply chains.

Gen Z values authenticity and transparency, so it's important for brands to be genuine in their sustainability efforts and clearly convey their commitment to these values.

Key takeaways

Gen Z's shopping habits highlight their significant impact on the retail landscape. Their financial pragmatism is evident. Social media presence is crucial, as Gen Z uses this media for product searches, price comparisons and even purchasing.

Convenience is a priority in their online shopping preferences, with a shift towards digital wallets and BNPL services. Their ability to navigate omnichannel shopping reflects a desire for seamless shopping experiences, and their brand loyalty is strong.

Gen Z has a strong preference for visually appealing, quick and easily digestible content. They express desire towards light-hearted, humorous and inspirational content. Last but not least, they value highly sustainable practices.

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