Social media to be major direct shopping channel for Generation Z

Rebecca Gibson
Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson on 07 March 2017
Social media to be major direct shopping channel for Generation Z

Social media is set to become a major direct shopping channel for Generation Z (post-milliennials), according to new global consumer research from Accenture.

Research found that 69% of Generation Z respondents are interested in purchasing directly via social media sites, while 44% use sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to source product information. In addition, more than a third have increased their use of social media to make decisions about purchases in the past year.

“Social media has emerged as a real disruptor in targeting Generation 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 Generation 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.”

However, Accenture also found that 60% of Generation Z shoppers still prefer to purchase goods in physical stores and nearly half still check in store to get more information before making an online purchase.

In addition, nearly three quarters of Generation Z shoppers are interested in curated subscription-type offering for fashion, and 71% are interested in automatic-replenishment programmes, with an overwhelming majority willing to shift more than half their purchases to a retailer offering this service. Around 10% are already using voice-activated ordering, while a further 25% ‘can’t wait’ to use it and 38% would be willing to try it.

“The ability to provide reliable and accurate product delivery and a great consumer experience requires retailers to enhance their capabilities in digitisation, innovation and harnessing consumer data,” said Standish. “Gleaning insights successfully can increase the lifetime value of each customer. The fact that Generation 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.”

Other findings from the report showed that Generation Z are more likely than both younger and older millennials to purchase an item due to recommendations from various sources, and they’re more impulsive buyers. More than half said they would pay more than US$5 for one-hour deliveries.

Generation Z are also less loyal to particular brands. Only 16% currently favour a single store for clothing, 19% for health and beauty items and fewer than 38% shop at a single place for groceries, compared to 26%, 34% and 55% of millennials, respectively.

“Generation Z is the next big consumer market and purchasing powerhouse,” said Standish. “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. 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.”

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