What Gen Z want from brands

Dylan Brown
by Dylan Brown

Key findings:

Appealing to the needs of Millennials once seemed superfluous – a generation that was overly demanding, unloyal and technology-obsessed – yet, as Millennials age, it has become abundantly clear that their buying behaviours reflect a wider trend taking place in the retail sector rather than a passing, generation-specific fad.

And in the next two decades, where these Millennials and their younger, and arguably more demanding, Gen Z contemporaries, spend their money will ultimately determine the success of individual brands and continue to shape the overall retail landscape.

Read the survey report of 2,000 UK consumers

To gain an in-depth understanding of how Millennial and Gen Z consumers choose to shop, what brands they find appealing, and the true impact their decisions have had on brick-and-mortar retail, we surveyed over 2,000 shoppers of all different age brackets from across the UK. Here’s some of the interesting insights we discovered:

Do people prefer to shop in-store or online?

Online shopping has truly taken off in recent years, and younger generations have been the driving force behind it.

Yet, are they as online-centric as their reputation leads us to believe when it comes to day-to-day shopping? Our survey revealed that 53% of Millennial and Gen Z respondents still prefer to buy the majority of their items in-store. And a significant percentage (40%) of Millennial and Gen Z shoppers said they prefer to try products in-person before buying them.

Interestingly, visiting a store to seek in-store advice failed to appeal to the vast majority of our respondents, with only 13% of all respondents saying they go into stores for advice from store associates, further indicating the role appointment scheduling software can play in drawing in crowds for specialised services.

When Millennial and Gen Z consumers do shop online, the primary reasons are practicality and convenience-driven, with 68% citing convenience, 43% mentioning lower costs and 31% listing the speed of online next-day delivery as compelling factors.

Unsurprisingly, Amazon was particularly popular with younger consumers, and all age groups for that matter, with 45% of all respondents spending over 50% of their online budgets through Amazon.

Which retail brands are considered relevant to modern generations?

Younger generations of shoppers know that they’re highly sought-after by retailers, and as such, their expectations of what constitutes a positive brand experience are heightened.

The brands that Millennial and Gen Z consumers agree to be strong and appealing include IKEA, ASOS, Primark, Pandora, Topshop, Nandos and Benefit Cosmetics.

Yet, brands perceived by the same generations to be more irrelevant today include Gap, Next and Pizza Express.

More shocking perhaps was the fact that some 70% of Gen Z, Millennial and Gen X respondents could not name any brands they admire, versus 64% of Baby Boomers and 56% of the Silent Generation.

Brands such as Apple, John Lewis, Primark, Nike and Samsung, who did make our list of admirable brands, all add meaning to younger consumers’ everyday lives by improving their status, offering value for money, being convenient or excelling with their in-store experience.

Who influences their buying behaviours?

Compared to older generations of consumers, who are still easily swayed by what they see on TV, younger generations are heavily influenced by what their friends and family have to say, or by what they stumble across on social media.

The opinions of friends influences the buying behaviours of 27% of Gen Zers’, making it more influential than TV, which sits at only 24%.

Social media advertising seems to have a strong influence on younger consumers. While Gen Zers are influenced by what they see on Instagram, Millennials are more influenced by Facebook advertising. And, interestingly, social influencer marketing has more impact than social ads.

We also noticed high levels of brand engagement across social platforms, particularly from Gen Z consumers. Our survey revealed that 65% of Gen Zers ‘sometimes’ or ‘always’ like a brand’s post on social media, 60% ‘sometimes’ or ‘always’ follow a brand’s channels and 43% ‘sometimes’ or ‘always’ repost a product that a brand has posted.

Despite the popularity of online shopping and the influence of social media, younger consumers still place a huge value on the need to see and try on products, along with the social aspects of shopping.

Going forward, retailers need to unlock the potential of their biggest assets – beautiful stores, engaging and technology-driven in-store experiences, plus enthusiastic staff who have the expertise to make each and every customer feel important.

You can continue reading more about these insights and more by downloading our free white paper.



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