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WiFi Required: Gen Z Seeks Social Media Input Before Purchasing

While the generation watches makeup tutorials on YouTube, they still go to stores seeking expert advice, according to HRC Retail Advisory.

Want Gen Z shoppers? Get WiFi.

According to a survey from HRC Retail Advisory, 90 percent of Gen Z-ers say a strong WiFi signal is important to them during their shopping experience. The reason, according to Farla Efros, president of HRC, is because they are trying to send pictures of beauty or apparel looks to their friends via Snapchat and Instagram for approval before they buy.

“It’s almost a necessity for stores to have that strong WiFi connection so these kids can make a decision,” Efros said. HRC’s survey found that more than half of Millennials and Gen Z shoppers solicit opinions via social media from friends while shopping, and 66 percent of Millennials said they would use a magic mirror in a dressing room to send photos through social media.

“Most kids are on limited data plans from their parents,” Efros said. “When they shop…they take and send pictures to their friends and they wait for the likes or dislikes.…They will move onto Instagram once they’ve made the choice, and then they will create what they refer to as ‘artsy pictures.’” In those photos, youngsters sometimes block their faces and display their outfits, she added.

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But before they even make it into a store, both generations are watching makeup tutorials on YouTube. Amongst those surveyed, 55 percent of both generations use YouTube daily.

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“These kids are saying, ‘I watch them, I learn, I still don’t know what to do, and then I go into the store so I can have someone show me and teach me,’” Efros said. “That’s the edge against Amazon.”

Customization of beauty looks — like makeup palettes — is also part of the process, as both generations try to emulate the Kardashians and Jenners, Efros said. “There was not one girl that did not mention the Kardashians and Jenners,” she noted, of those interviewed.

Those drivers — customization and wanting to test things in person — is driving Gen Z to stores and even malls, and they’re bringing their Millennial or Gen X parents with them, according to Efros. “Gen Z prefers shopping in malls because they really want to touch it, feel it and they don’t want to have the stress of having to return things,” she said.

The generations heightened money consciousness also drives them to shop in places like Wal-Mart and Amazon, where they can translate their taste for fast fashion into beauty. In the last six months, 55 percent of those surveyed in Gen Z purchased beauty in places like Target and Walmart, and 35 percent had purchased on Amazon — for Millennials, the breakdown was 49 and 45 percent, respectively.

“They treat beauty somewhat like clothing,” Efros said. “If you think about the growth of fast fashion…it allows them to not necessarily invest in a brand per se, but allows them to change their look more frequently.”

As far as product quality goes, Gen Z is more concerned about animal testing and sustainability, Efros said. “Gen Z has really grown up in the environment of green — everything is about recycling and not testing on animals and a lot of them are teetering on being vegans…it’s very much a growing trend with that [group],” Efros said.