Gen Z is two to three times more likely to be influenced by social media than by sales or discounts — the only generation to value social media over price when it comes to making purchase decisions, according to a study by IRI emailed to Retail Dive
But Gen Z is just as influenced by low prices as by products that are easy to find, with 26% of Gen Z choosing a retailer because of low product pricing and 23% based on how easy it is to find products, according to IRI.
Most of the younger generation seem to agree that brick and mortar retailers offer many of the same qualities as online retailers, with 79% saying that both platforms equally offer the brands they want, low pricing (70%), an enjoyable shopping experience (66%), a large product selection (56%), great rewards/loyalty programs (55%) and products that are easy to find (55%), per the study.
As retailers try to win over Generation Z, it feels like a new study about the young demographic comes out daily. More often than not, they make some reference to social media, which — after all — is difficult to ignore when discussing this mobile-savvy group.
Although millennials are arguably just as tech-savvy as their younger counterparts, the members of Gen Z seem increasingly interested in using the technology as a purchase platform and a method for engaging in brand conversations. Consider that 29% of "older Gen Z" members listed the most influential method of marketing as seeing or hearing about a brand on social media, compared to just 12% of "younger millennials" who hold that same belief.
Then factor in that Gen Z is twice as likely to convert on mobile as any other generation and that 80% of the generation is influenced by social media when making purchase decisions. An image of the generation as a mobile-heavy, social media-focused shopper begins to form. Despite this constant connectedness, though, Gen Z is picky about the brands it interacts with on the platform.
Gen Zers are not generally brand loyal, but when they do commit to a brand, it’s for very particular reasons. For example, if they feel the brand understands them as an individual (53%) or has an eco-friendly or socially-responsible brand message (56%), they want more brand interaction. But barring a good reason to shop there, Gen Z seems more willing to switch to a different retailer than previous generations.
"It is clear that Gen Z will be different from millennials and the generations before them on many levels — on top of being the most culturally diverse shopper population to date, Gen Zers are already forming unique purchase motivators and preferences," Robert Tomei, president of consumer and shopper marketing and core content services at IRI, said in a press release. "It will be critical for manufacturers and retailers to have a deeper understanding of these young shoppers as they gain influence and purchasing power, and leverage the power of personalization to reach them."
Retailers have already begun to reach out to the generation in diverse ways — Tommy Hilfiger and Bloomingdale’s and Cotton Inc, recently hosted shoppable fashion shows geared towards mobile users (and therefore Gen Z), and small-format store concepts from Neiman Marcus and Target are aimed directly at connecting with young shoppers.
No matter which methods retailers deem most effective for dealing with the younger generation, it seems clear that, for now, mobile and social media are topping the list.