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Gen Z Shopping Habits & Trends: WOM & Influencers Lead the Way

Gen Z shopping habits and trends are heavily influenced by friends & family. Influencers also play a critical role in their shopper journey.

By: Michael Brito

Category: Analytics

This report just came out from eMarketer about Gen Z shopping habits and trends. The report also included other generations like millennials, Gen X and baby boomers, and how they shop online. Here are some of the findings:

50% of Gen Z use social media to discover new products and research information. Many of them also follow company brand handles and follow influencers during their shopping journey. This is consistent across all generations too. The difference being that these specific Gen Z shopping habits is growing year to year.

YouTube is the top social channel that Gen Z uses for researching products followed by Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. This data kind of took me by surprise. Other research that I have read implies that Gen Z does not use Facebook and having two Gen Z adults at home validates that hypothesis.

Gen Z Shopping

When compared to other generations, the Gen Z shopping habits include engaging with brands through social media. A higher percentage of Gen Z follow brands online and on social media, with many citing that they purchase from the brands that have an engaging social media presence. They also state that influencers play a critical role to their shopper journey.

Clothing, beauty & skincare products and technology are the categories that Gen Z will typically but online through social media.

How are Gen Z Shopping Habits Influenced?

In a previous report from eMarketer, 65% of Gen Z adults said friend and family recommendations were the two most trusted sources for product recommendations. This really doesn’t surprise me. Over the last 20 years reports from a variety of different sources support the hypothesis that people trust people with just about everything.

The data also suggests that 11% of Gen Z relies on influencers and creators before buying products online.

Gen Z Shopping Trends

The Key Takeaways for Gen Z Shopping Trends

Data like this reinforces that brands need to rethink how they are engaging with their customers online. Of course, influencer marketing is a trend that has picked up a lot of speed over the last 5+ years and should be a part of your broader marketing strategy.

This data also tells me that brands should think about building customer advocacy programs in order to capitalize on word of mouth, trust and relationship building.

Lastly, it’s widely known that platforms like Instagram and TikTok have been gaining momentum and usage among the Gen Z audience. The biggest difference between YouTube and these other video-first platforms is that YouTube videos get visibility within the Google search results. The others don’t. And the fact that YouTube itself is the second largest search engine also plays a factor in new product visibility. In this regard, it’s more than just Gen Z shopping trends. All generations look to “other people like themselves” for product recommendations.


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