5 Stats on Generation Z Buying Habits Marketers Need

Though the oldest members of the Generation Z cohort are just beginning to come of age, their spending power is already undeniable, and marketers who want to remain relevant need to understand their unique needs. Gen Z, defined as those born after 1998, commands $44 billion in buying power—nothing to scoff at, surely—but by 2020, some reports project they’ll command nearly 40 percent of all consumer shopping. What’s more, 93 percent of parents say their Gen Z offspring influence household spending.

By 2020, Gen Z will command nearly 40 percent of all consumer shopping.


And Gen Z is online—really, really online: a recent study found that 74 percent of Gen Z members spend five hours or more every day online. Therefore, marketers who want to capture the attention of this generation need to look for them online and find ways to connect with them there, which means catering to their unique preferences. Though they’re not so distant age-wise from the generation currently cornering the market—millennials—Gen Z has buying habits all their own.

We’ve collected a few of the most important stats about Gen Z’s buying habits for marketers to note:

1. Forty-six percent of U.S. Gen Z consumers research items on mobile devices before making purchases in-store.

(Source: Precision Dialogue)

Gen Z uses their smartphones and tablets as pre-shopping research tools before they even set foot in a brick-and-mortar store, so retailers need to offer mobile shoppers detailed information about products and services that will help move them down the path to purchase, even if that purchase isn’t online. Gen Z researches online before making an in-store purchase 12 to 27 percent more than any other generation. Data from recent years shows the tendency of Gen Z shoppers to research online before in-store shopping will only increase: in one year, researching online before buying in-store increased among the Gen Z generation by 5%, writes Precision Dialogue.

Gen Z researches online before making an in-store purchase 12 to 27 percent more than any other generation.


2. Sixty percent of Gen Z folks are more likely than average consumers to hang up if their call isn’t answered in under 45 seconds.

(Source: Precision Dialogue)

Customer care in general is incredibly important, especially on social. Increasingly, social is used by consumers to address customer service issues, and the importance of individualized, timely care will only become more important as Gen Z grows into their buying power.

3. Forty-two percent of Gen Z respondents in a recent study said they would participate in an online game for a campaign and forty-three percent would write a product review.

(Source: Forbes)

These two numbers tell marketers something important about Gen Z: they’re looking to get involved with brands and even invest their own time and energy into building the reputation of a brand. Creative and engaging social campaigns that invite involvement are likely to play well with Gen Z.

4. Sixty percent of Gen Z shoppers won’t use apps or websites that load slowly or are difficult to navigate.

(Source: Forbes)

Efficiency is definitely the name of the game for Gen Z: a recent survey found that nearly half of those belonging to Gen Z say that the ability to find things quickly is the most important aspect of shopping for them, writes Forbes. Retailers must ensure their online assets run smoothly and are intuitive.

5. Sixty-three percent of Gen Z members prefer real people to celebrities when it comes to advertisements.

(Source: BazaarVoice)

Gen Z’s preference for real people demonstrates the importance of both transparency and trust to this generation of shoppers. Influencers can still be effective spokespeople for brands targeting Gen Z, but they must be speaking from an authentic place that aligns with the brand’s own values.

Gen Z members are digital natives, meaning they cannot remember a world in which the internet wasn’t constantly available to them, writes Forbes. This is new: many millennials, the generation immediately preceding Gen Z, didn’t have regular (read: quick) internet access until they were well into their teens, and most didn’t have smartphones until after college. Though millennials have wasted no time becoming digitally proficient, the experience of Gen Z is completely different.

By now you’ve heard the statistic claiming that our average attention span is now just eight seconds long. But—wait for it—there’s evidence Gen Z cuts that number in half. Really! But we’re not talking about a generation of attention-deficient people, writes Precision Dialogue, but rather a generation with a “four-second filter.” Therefore, brands do not have any time to waste with Gen Z, and once they’ve captured their attention, they’ll have to keep it by being responsive and engaging.

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Jaime Netzer is Spredfast's Senior Content Marketing Manager, leading content operations. A Lawrence, Kansas native, she traded seasons for breakfast tacos seven years ago and hasn't looked back since. Also a fiction writer and journalist, Jaime tweets semi-regularly and reads constantly.