Retailers need to find new ways of engagement — think social platform shopping and convenience, such as one-hour delivery — if they want to reach Gen Z and young Millennial consumers.
That’s according to a new study from Accenture on digital usage. The study — which surveyed nearly 10,000 consumers across 13 countries, including 750 U.S. consumers — noted that the next consumer group is seeking voice-activated shopping, curated subscription programs that include the rental model and automatic replenishment shopping options. Young Millennials between ages 21 to 27 in the U.S., who are more closely aligned to Gen Z than their older counterparts, are leading the way in some of these shopping preferences and expectations. Gen Z consumers in the study were between ages 18 and 20, said Jill Standish, senior managing director of Accenture’s Retail industry practice.
These younger consumers have distinct shopping habits and preferences that require retailers to rethink how they engage with them, as well as how they rethink their digital shopping methods.
The younger consumer groups rely heavily on social media, and are looking for enhanced digital tools that would allow them to purchase directly through social platforms, such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. In the Accenture study, 72 percent of U.S. Gen Z respondents are interested in purchasing via social media directly. Further, 50 percent cite social media as a source for product inspiration and 35 percent have used or relied on social media for purchase decision-making in the last year. Among young Millennials, 75 percent are interested in purchasing via social media directly, with 48 percent citing social media s a popular source for product inspiration and 44 percent increasing their use of social media for purchase decision-making.
Standish said of the Gen Z findings, “There’s not a lot of loyalty with brands in apparel in this age group. They are shopping around because they like to try things on.” Among consumers who shop for a single brand of apparel, only 16 percent of consumers globally and just 5 percent of U.S. consumers are “loyal” to a particular brand. Standish attributed the difference to U.S. consumers having access to more stores, which allows consumers to “go from store to store.” The study also found that Gen Z shoppers are more willing to pay for speedy delivery, with 68 percent stating they would be willing to pay more than $5 dollars for one-hour deliveries.
And while Gen Z has a growing preference for newer shopping methods, they also still like to go into a store. “The store is social for this age group. They go to a store and hang out with friends and get inspired. That’s the culture in the U.S. But the social channel is where these folks like to be inspired. This younger generation is following celebrities and bloggers. YouTube around this age group is bigger than Facebook. Retailers and brands need to understand this, said Standish, adding that Gen Z has an expectation that if they are “hanging out” on a social platform, they should also be able to hit a “buy” button when they see something they want to buy.
The study found that YouTube is the most frequently used social media platform, cited by 89 percent of Gen Z respondents. They are also more likely to buy based on what their family and friends think and from recommendations via YouTube videos, as well as the ones who usually chat with an online sales assistant then shopping online.