Go Figure: Gen Z Loves Brick And Mortar

We have some good news and some, well, forget-everything-you-know news. On the positive side, most marketers, at last, understand how to market to Millennials. Now brace yourselves, because those techniques are going to change drastically over the next few years as Generation Z comes of age and gains spending power.

That’s the key takeaway of a new study by Accenture, which examines the attitudes and expectations of 18- to 20-year-old Gen Z consumers--those already with spending power--along the path to purchase and compares them to Millennials. The study is based on a survey of nearly 10,000 consumers across 13 countries, including 750 U.S. consumers.

While Gen Z is a very much a “digital native” group, 77% still prefer to purchase in-store. In addition, 44% will go to a store to get more information before making an online purchase. 

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Unlike previous generations, social media is destined to become a direct shopping channel for Gen Z, the study also found. More specifically, 72% of U.S. Gen Z respondents said they want to make purchases directly on social media. In addition, 50% said social media inspires them to purchase products, and more than one-third have increased their use of social platforms specifically to inform their decision-making in the past year.

“I think the key takeaway for marketers is you have to be listening in social media,” said Jill Standish, senior managing director of Accenture’s Global Retail Consulting Practice. “You’ve got to be there, and you’ve got to be inspiring.”

(Click on chart to enlarge)

According to the study, YouTube is Gen Z’s most regularly used social media platform, while Facebook reigns supreme for Millennials. Seventy-four percent of Gen Z also use Instagram, compared with 54% of Millennials. Additionally, members of Gen Z are more likely to use Snapchat than Millennials.

Gen Z shoppers also expressed interest in emerging shopping methods, such as voice-activated ordering (45%), curated subscriptions (77%), and automatic replenishment (66%).

“The fact that Gen Z shoppers are open to new shopping methods is a real opportunity for retailers to secure new consumer data and get closer to this generation,” Standish said. 

Click here for the full study (short registration required).

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