Born between 1997 and 2012, Gen Z is the first true digital-native generation. As they enter the workforce and gain purchasing power, it's crucial to understand their online shopping habits and where Gen Z shop online.
Personalization is key with 81% of Gen Z expecting a unique shopping experience. Sustainability and ethics are also important considerations with 68% more likely to buy from brands contributing to social causes.
This blog explores how Gen Z is transforming online shopping with 98% owning smartphones, 55% making purchases via mobile devices, and 70% being influenced by social media.
Gen Z Online Shopping Habits: Statistics and Insights
Here are some key stats about Gen Z's online shopping habits from studies by Klarna, Oberlo and our own research on GenZ seasonal shopping:
- Clothing and shoes are the top online purchases for Gen Z, with 65% buying them online.
- Entertainment products and electronics follow, with 49% and 45% purchasing them online.
- Leisure, sport, hobby items, and beauty products are popular online purchases, with 39% buying in these categories.
- Jewelry and accessories are bought online by 33% of Gen Z.
- Other online purchases include groceries (28%), automobile parts or accessories (26%), pharmaceutical products (23%), and children's products (23%).
- Home and garden items are purchased online by 21% of Gen Z.
Understanding Gen Z online shopping preferences
Here are some Gen Z shopping statistics that explain their buying preferences:
1. Role of affordability, brand authenticity, and brand transparency in Gen Z’s purchase decisions
- 62% of Gen Z’s consider affordability important compared to 53% overall.
- 32% of Gen Z’s prioritize brand authenticity compared to 24% overall.
- 25% of Gen Z’s value brand transparency compared to 16% overall.
2. Consumers across generations prefer to shop from brands that share their values, but Gen Z is the least likely to boycott brands.
- 73% of consumers believe it's important for brands to share their values.
- Gen Z's are the least likely to have boycotted a brand due to social and political differences.
- Only 36% of Gen Z's boycotted a brand in the past year compared to 40% of Millennials, 42% of Gen Xers, and 50% of Boomers.
3. Gen Z's are active followers of brands on social media, which influences their purchasing decisions.
- 61% of Gen Z's follow brands they like on social media.
- 43% of those who follow brands on social media are more likely to purchase products from those brands.
- Only 34% of consumers from older generations follow brands on social media.
4. Having a social media presence positively impacts Gen Z’s online shopping habits.
- 29% of Gen Z's are more likely to purchase from brands with a social media presence.
5. Gen Z's sources of inspiration for purchases
- Shopping websites: 51%
- Social media: 47%
- Friends and family: 45%
- Brick-and-mortar stores: 44%
6. Preferred platforms for product research
- YouTube: Gen Z (47%)
- Facebook: Gen Z (21%)
- Instagram: Gen Z (29%)
7. Trusted sources for product recommendations
- Family members: All age groups (60%)
- Friends: All age groups (31% to 34%)
- Creators/influencers: Gen Z (11%)
8. Gen Z shopping habits influenced by social media:
- 58% Gen Z are likely to make purchases based on recommendations from influencers or content creators
- Gen Z are more likely to purchase clothing (49%), beauty and skincare (34%), and technology (31%)
9. Most popular social media platforms among Gen Z:
- YouTube: 69%
- Instagram: 67%
- TikTok: 46%
- Snapchat: 58%
10. Overall social media usage:
- Gen Z: Nearly two-thirds (64%) use social media several times a day
- Gen Z daily users: More than half (54%) spend 2 or more hours browsing on social media
11. Role of payment providers in influencing Gen Z shopping habits
- Debit cards are the most preferred method of payment among Gen Z.
- Mobile payment services, such as Apple Pay and Venmo, are also popular among Gen Z.
- 52% of Gen Z consumers prefer using a debit card for purchases.
- Only 19% of Gen Z consumers favor using credit cards.
- Preference for debit cards decreases with age, while preference for credit cards increases.
- Mobile payment services are less popular than credit and debit cards among Gen Z, Millennials, and Gen X.
- Only 12% of Gen Z's, Millennials, and Gen Xers consider mobile payment services as their preferred payment method.
- Among mobile payment service providers, Paypal is the most popular among consumers overall.
- 41% of consumers have used Paypal to make a purchase within the last year.
- Venmo, Apple Pay, and Cash App are increasingly used by Gen Z, with approximately one in three Gen Z's having used these services for purchases last year.
- Usage of Venmo (33%), Apple Pay (31%), Cash App (33%), and Paypal (30%) is similar among Gen Z.
12. Shopping for gifts online
Our in-depth research on holiday season shopping also led to finding that GenZ is also the audience segment that buys more gifts online, and uses social media to guide their purchase decisions. Download the report here.
- Gen Z wants more than just great products. They value brands' authenticity, transparency, and sustainability more than any other age group.
- Social media is the go-to place when it comes to purchasing decisions. They connect with brands, find inspiration, and research products through their favorite platforms.
- Gen Z is all about mobile payments and digital wallets. Apps like Cash App, Venmo, and Apple Pay lead this tech-savvy generation.
Key challenges and strategies for brands to appeal Gen Z customers
Now that we discussed Gen Z shopping statistics and where Gen Z shop online in detail, it’s also important to look at several challenges that you might face when appealing to Gen Z customers.
1. Short attention span
Gen Z is known to have an attention span of 8 seconds or less due to their constant exposure to information and digital content. Therefore, your message must be concise and engaging to grab quick attention and cater to their online shopping habits.
2. Digital Savviness
Gen Z was born in the digital age and is tech-savvy. 98% of Gen Z own smartphones. They follow brands on social media, compare prices, and 83% use it to research products. Therefore, you must create a strong online presence and provide a seamless experience to align with their online shopping habits.
3. Authenticity and transparency
Gen Z craves authenticity and transparency. 84% of Gen Z consumers will likely buy from brands that align with their values and demonstrate social responsibility. Therefore, to earn Gen Z's trust and cater to their online shopping habits, you must be transparent about your practices and put sustainability and ethics at the core of your business.
53% of Gen Z consumers prefer brands that offer personalized experiences and customized recommendations. Therefore, to attract them and cater their online shopping habits, data must be used to provide personalized product recommendations, targeted advertising, and customized shopping experiences.
5. Social media influence
Gen Z spends most of their time on social media. They use it for product discovery, brand endorsements, and reviews. Therefore, brands should actively engage in social media and use influencer marketing to reach Gen Z consumers and meet their online shopping habits. But again, influencer partnerships must be genuine and aligned with their values.
6. Price sensitivity
Gen Z is said to have higher purchasing power, but in reality, this generation is more price sensitive as they are growing up in economic uncertainty. 61% of consumers prefer value for money and always look for sales and discounts. Therefore, to attract the attention of price-sensitive Gen Z consumers and their online shopping habits, you need to offer competitive prices, deals, and discounts.
7. Instant Gratification
Gen Z values convenience and promptness. 45% of Gen Z considers convenience as an important factor in their online retail experience. Thus fast and efficient delivery options, easy returns, and seamless customer service should not be compromised to appeal to this demographic and their online shopping habits.
Examples of brands successfully targeting Gen Z consumers
Here are examples of two brands that have successfully targeted Gen Z consumers and understood their online shopping habits:
This UK-based fitness apparel brand has gained popularity with Gen Z consumers through social media and influencer marketing. They partner with fitness influencers to showcase their products and engage with their audience on social media. Gymshark also offers personalized shopping experiences, online retail experience and rewards programs based on Gen Z consumer values.
Beauty brand Glossier leverages social media and user-generated content to target Gen Z consumers effectively. It encourages customers to share their experiences and reviews on Instagram, creating community and trust. Gen Z's clients appreciate Glossier's minimalist aesthetic and inclusive marketing campaigns, garnering a loyal following.
Social Commerce: The key to attracting Gen Z online shoppers
Did you know that US social commerce sales are projected to reach $145.2 billion by 2028?
With Gen Z dominating social media, brands must seize this opportunity to engage with the future of retail.
Social commerce has become a game changer, connecting brands with Gen Z consumers, influencing decisions, and driving sales. By integrating eCommerce with social platforms, brands create a seamless online retail experience tailored to Gen Z's preferences.
From showcasing products to offering personalized recommendations, social commerce captivates Gen Z's attention, where they spend most of their time. It's time for brands to adapt to Gen Z online shopping habits and behaviors, build deeper connections, foster loyalty, and tap into this influential consumer group.
And that’s exactly what Edge Storefronts are built for.
Instead of taking consumers from social media to brand websites for shopping, Edge Storefronts enable true social commerce - it brings the shopping of branded websites to consumers on social media, not off it!
Ready to join the revolution of social commerce?