Social commerce comes of age with Gen Z
Social commerce — the purchase of goods and services directly within social media platforms like Instagram or TikTok — is king among Gen Z shoppers. Instead of a linear retail relationship, the Gen Z retail model is more circular, where the consumer can also be a creator, influencer and seller. As traditional retail’s outsized influence begins to fade, increasing relevance in the realm of social commerce will be required for retailers and manufacturers.
Gen Z has inspired an ecosystem of always-on retail
The fight for attention in the omni retail ecosystem is real, and knowing what a consumer wants, at the right time, place, and format will be key to success. Get ready to cater to the connected, continuous consumer who can be reached around the clock across channels. In the year ahead, brands will buckle down to authentically understand their consumer needs, wants, community relationships and influences across traditional and emerging channels. Brands will fight to create stronger consumer/community ties to create destinations for transparent engagement and connections. Watch for increased investment in new ways to meaningfully engage with consumers through digital sensorial experiences at all hours of the day.
Gen Z’s expectations for meaningful engagement will reshape retail
Gen Z consumers are looking for highly curated, personal and purpose-driven experiences both in products and in store choice. For Gen Z shoppers, the most meaningful experiences are tied to action and activism. Gen Zs are doers. They are choiceful with their attention, purposeful with their time and conscious of their consumption. Proof over promises is what sways this generation. Brands who can show a deep understanding and connection to Gen Z ideals through offering authentic experiences will rise above the rest in relevancy and will build towards long lasting loyalty.
Activism is at the heart of Gen Z consumption
Gen Zers are not afraid to dump the brands and retailers who do not live up to their standards and ideals. Socially and civically active, digitally native and consciously aware, activism is at the heart of Gen Z consumption choices. You’ll find products that prioritize physical, mental, and planetary health in Gen Z shopping carts. NIQ data shows that Gen Zs are more likely to purchase from a certain company if they develop products responsibly and sustainably. What do Gen Zers care about? New NIQ data confirms that the top 3 concerns for Gen Zers are animal welfare, climate change, and air pollution.
Gen Z is driving “for me” culture
Self-expression, individuality, inclusivity, and the demand for personalization are also driving forces in Gen Z consumption. They expect brands to be inclusive and cater to a variety of individual needs and preferences. We see this playing out in the beauty and personal care space with the rise of personalized hair care routines, customized vitamins, and perfected tone matched cosmetics. As a generation, Gen Z shows the greatest affinity for companies who represent and support racial and ethnic minorities and the LGBTQ+ community. As members of Gen Z mature, be mindful that they will continue to look for the “me” in meaningful engagement and gravitate towards authenticity and inclusivity.
Gen Zers are redefining the life clock; delaying milestone purchases
Individually, Gen Zers are figuring it out and living for the moment. As a generation coming of age in near constant disruption, they feel a collective urgency to improve the state of the world. Gen Zers are looking to side hustles as additional income sources and passion outlets. The prioritization of these side hustles may further delay other life milestones like marriage, home ownership and parenting — and the traditional purchases associated with those moments. In fact, only 25% of Gen Z name marriage as a top 3 aspiration. While they’re still being shaped and defined by an unstable world, NIQ data shows that they still hold a few traditional values — earning money, having fulfilling careers, and traveling around the country. They also have a strong generational desire for security, community and meaning, and exploration post pandemic lockdown.
Gen Z is in full control of their own shopping journey
As Natives of an always-on retail environment, Gen Zers are in full control and know how to drive their own shopping experience. In their efforts to explore in untethered ways, Gen Zers will always be on the hunt for the new and the next. As marketers aim to keep up with Gen Z consumers, be mindful of emerging winds of change. Keep a close eye on the rising influence of longer form and even livestream content. While US consumers are engaged with short-form scrolling, there are signs of short-form content fatigue. As longer form and livestream content becomes more popular, the opportunities for live stream shopping touch points increase. Keep experiences alive across the omni retail universe and most importantly, invest in continually and fully understanding the values and priorities of Gen Z consumers.