Gen Z: The bargain hunters who LOVE to e-shop

Gen Z. Picture courtesy Lee Cooper

Gen Z. Picture courtesy Lee Cooper

A few years ago, I couldn’t tell a Millennial from any other member of society. Now barely a day goes by when I don’t have to write something with the word Millennial in the headline.

As an unreconstructed Baby Boomer it drives me mad. So it’s a refreshing change for the Demographic of the Day on this particular Monday to be the next generation down Gen Z.

Researchers at Shoppercentric spoke to 1,000 people, young and older(er) as well as doing in-depth interviews with a smaller group, and discovered some cool things about Gen Z.

gen z

For a start they’re optimistic, love bargains, don’t have much time for eBay, shop online as a leisure activity (in the same way that older Millennials used to hang out at the mall at that age), and buy tons of cheap clothes only to return it later.

And apparently, the 15-24 age group doesn’t spend its time moaning that the retail sector “doesn’t understand me” (in fact only 20% of them feel that way compared to around a third of us older shoppers). Oh, and they don’t see themselves as materialistic.

So how do you reach a generation where many of its members think there’s more to life than ‘stuff”? Well, its not too difficult it seems.

They may crave experiences and meaning in life just like those consumers in the other group (you know, the one that begins with M). But Gen Z are still confirmed and committed shoppers. The study found that they’e open to persuasion and really like to shop. And they shop (in-store or online) at least seven times a month (or eight times if they’re male).

Picture courtesy Tommy Hilfiger_Denim_gen z

Picture courtesy Tommy Hilfiger

More than half of them (52%) say that going out shopping is  a fun way to spend time with friends/family, versus 44% of adult shoppers at large.

And 62% of them say online shopping is a great way to stop getting bored – compared with 53% of older shoppers. Unfortunately though, 70% of them also say they “often” browse online with no intention of buying (versus 63% of older shoppers).


So where do they get their inspiration for the stuff they buy? Well, 28% say that they spend lots of time on YouTube getting ideas and recommendations, a lot more than the 13% of older shoppers who do likewise.

They get ideas from in-store or online displays too (49% compared to 41% of the population as a whole).

And – surprise, surprise – they rely heavily on their smartphones with 53% saying using them means they can get better information to help them decide what to buy when in-store – compared to 38% of older shoppers.

Given that 97% have a laptop/PC, 96% have a smartphone and 63% have a tablet, it’s no surprise how much they use social media wither.

  • 79% of Generation Z use Facebook vs 66% of older shoppers. Of those 24% regularly use it to contact retailers or brands
  • 50% of Generation Z use Instagram vs 17% of older shoppers. Of those 41% regularly use it to contact retailers or brands
  • 49% of Generation Z use YouTube vs 27% of older shoppers. Of those 32% regularly use it to contact retailers or brands
  • 41% of Generation Z use Twitter vs 26% of older shoppers. Of those 48% regularly use it to contact retailers or brands

Bargains and boredom

smartphoneThis generation really loves a bargain and 48% say they tend to buy the cheapest items they can so they can buy more things they really like – compared to just 29% of their older counterparts. And 62% are also tempted to buy if an item is on promotion versus 55% of older shoppers.

Given that they browse online as a leisure activity, it comes as no surprise that they’re happy to buy more items than they want, and return what they don’t want. As many as 28% say they buy lots of items online knowing they’re going to send most back – compared with just 10% of older shoppers.

They’re also impulsive shoppers (44% compared to 32% for older groups) but they want instant gratification so speedy delivery is important (20% say that compared to 10% of older groups).

That could be a reason they’re not bowled over by eBay as waiting days (and sometimes weeks) for delivery is way too long for them.

So, there you have it. Gen Z in a nutshell. Now that was a nice change… fingers cross that I’m not back talking about Millennials tomorrow.

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