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Gen Z look to visual social platforms for purchasing

By Danielle Wightman-Stone

6 Mar 2017


Young consumers are switching the majority of purchases to retailers that provide the newest digital tools and channels, according to new research by Accenture. If retailers want to attract purchases and brand loyalty from Generation Z consumers they will need to step up their focus on new ways of engagement said the research firm.

Gen Z are seeking voice-activated ordering, curated subscriptions and automatic-replenishment shopping models, the research reveals, and they looking for enhanced digital tools such as the ability to purchase directly via visual social platforms including YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.

Accenture examined the attitudes and expectations along the path to purchase of nearly 10,000 millennial and Gen Z consumers across 13 countries, and they found that social media will become the preferred shopping channel for Gen Z with 69 percent of them interested in purchasing through social networks directly.

In addition, more than four in 10 Gen Z’s (44 percent) cite social media as a popular source for product inspiration, and more than one-third (37 percent) have increased their use of social media for purchase decision-making in the last year.

"Social media has emerged as a real disruptor in targeting Gen Z shoppers, who are true digital natives," said Jill Standish, senior managing director of Accenture's Retail industry practice. "To succeed in this increasingly digital world, retailers must understand Gen Z's' expectations, influencer circles and behaviours - especially their social-media habits and how they differ from those of millennials. If they are spending their time on social platforms, this is where they want to be buying their products."

Generation Z shoppers looking to purchase directly via YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat

Gen Z shoppers are all about visuals, videos and pictures, with YouTube the most regularly used social media platform, preferred by 84 percent of Gen Z respondents, while Facebook is still the most popular social platform for those aged between 21-27 and 28-37 years old. Gen Z shoppers also regularly use Instagram (66 percent), compared with only 40 percent of millennials, and Gen Z shoppers are more than twice as likely as millennials to use Snapchat (54 percent versus 38 percent for younger and 22 percent for older millennials).

Despite Gen Z looking to social for shopping, physical stores still remain essential, with 60 percent still preferring to purchase in-store, and nearly half saying they would check in store to get more information before making an online purchase. In the US, over three-quarters (77 percent) of Gen Z respondents said that brick-and-mortar stores is their preferred shopping channel.

The research also revealed that Gen Z shoppers are interested in new shopping methods, with 73 percent interested in curated subscription-type offering for fashion and 71 percent interested in automatic-replenishment schemes. Additionally, 38 percent of younger shoppers are willing to try voice-activated ordering, a feature that 10 percent is already using.

"Gen Z is the next big consumer market and purchasing powerhouse. Retailers need to invest in the digital tools that will enable them to speak to Gen Z through visuals, collaborate with them across multiple channels and devices, and make them feel part of their brand,” added Standish. “Offering services such as crowd-sourcing, customisation and hyper-personalisation are a must-have capability for reaching a generation that is shaping and commanding today's digital retail landscape."

Image: courtesy of Facebook