ARCHIVES: This is legacy content from before Industry Dive acquired Mobile Commerce Daily in early 2017. Some information, such as publication dates, may not have migrated over. Check out our topic page for the latest mobile commerce news.

50pc of millennial and Generation Z shoppers use social media while they shop: report

Within a precarious marketing landscape still looking to firmly define the wants of millennials and their younger cohort, Generation Z, a new report confirms the power of social media as a starting and ending point for brands.

The report touches on the social behavior of Generation Z towards driving transactions, a dynamic already being taken advantage of in its most infantile stage by marketers looking to establish lines of communication to young consumers without many of the critical faculties to resist such courtship. In addition to reporting 50 percent of millennial and Generation Z shoppers surveyed use social media while they shop, the survey also logged social media habits: Facebook occupies 61 percent of social media time, followed by YouTube at 38 percent and Instagram at 24 percent.

“Social media acts as an influencer or driver to go into the store,”said Farla Efros, president of HRC Retail Advisory. “It also acts as an acceptance device.

“Prior to Generation Z making the purchase, they are looking for social acceptance from their peers.”

Generation Z
HRC surveyed 3,100 participants in the U.S. and Canada on their shopping habits, attitudes and the influence driving their purchase decisions.

The report’s findings hews to many of the stereotypes attributed to the newest cohort—incredibly connected, social media savvy—at the same time highlighting many of the consequences that their relationship with technology has ramified. Not all of them necessarily retain to the mobile space directly, but the findings do contain valuable information for any retailer looking for the foundations of a cohesive omnichannel effort targeted towards Generation Z.

HRC unearthed interesting findings on the importance of malls to the Generation Z shopper: 72 percent of Generation Z respondents (kids 10-17) and Millennial parents with kids reported visiting a mall or shopping center at least once a month, and the survey reported that Generation Z shoppers also spend more time at the mall and they visit more stores.

Younger shoppers also reported being heavily influenced by others in terms of their spending habits, but the demography of influence is beginning to indicate signs of change. While Gen Z shoppers tend not to be strongly influenced by celebrity endorsements from athletes, actors and singers, over 61 percent of their purchase decisions are most strongly influenced by friends, with 13 percent being influenced by bloggers.

Online engagement
In regards to the cohort’s online behavior, one brand seemed to jump out as a fan favorite: alongside the 66 percent of millennials that claimed they place an online order at least once a month, 79 percent of all respondents making purchases in the last year shopped on Other popular sites include, and, respectively.

“On average, Generation Z owns five devices versus two for Millennials, and they are using their mobile devices to search, learn and load coupons,” Ms. Efros said. “Mobile devices are a great marketing mechanism to reach Generation Z.

“In regards to retail, all retailers need to have free wifi in order to start communicating with that generation as soon as they are close to the door.”

A Pandora executive recently gave a talk on marketing to Generation Z, confirming many of the findings of HRC’s survey (see story).

And brands’ creative departments have been reaching way into left field to market to millennials: cruise line operator Royal Caribbean launched an unorthodox campaign to entice millennials to hop on a cruise this Thanksgiving with an online contest celebrating ‘Friendsgiving’ (see story).

“Generation Z are quite different from Millennials: they have five devices versus two, they like malls, they like social interaction, they are opinionated and carry very strong influence in and out of the household,” Ms. Efros said. “Generation Z are the driving force across all decisions.

“They are smart, capable and want to do good. With an attention span of seven seconds, they want to be spoken to in images, not words.

“They want to be treated as adults, not children.”