Gen Z Shopping Habits — The Breakdown

Gladly Team

Read Time

4 minute read

As a young, consumer-happy generation of new shoppers, Gen Z offers ecommerce retailers enormous opportunities for long-term value. For their part, retailers need to understand Gen Z shopping habits, as this demographic and their combined disposable income surpassing $360 billion constitute a major opportunity for business now and into the future.

How can brands find out what makes Gen Z shoppers tick to better serve these consumers? The secret lies in dissecting their behavior and equipping all aspects of your customer experience with the tools to deliver on their expectations.

What Are Generation Z Buying Habits?

Gen Z’s buying habits include buying across media platforms, spending more on products they really value, and craving personal touches in their shopping experiences.

Are Gen Z Impulsive Buyers?

Data shows that Gen Z shops more impulsively than previous generations, with 41% making hastier purchases compared to just 34% of millennials.

Common sense would indicate that this impulsive spending could curb as the demographic ages. But this higher rate indicates an inclination toward making bigger purchases if the quality of the product really resonates with the Gen Z shopper.

Key Gen Z Shopping Habits to Know

1. Buying wherever they are – but especially on social

More than ever, Gen Z is purchasing across physical and digital experiences, buying whenever and wherever they please when it’s most convenient — or when inspiration strikes. In particular, Gen Z online shopping habits indicate a willingness to buy from social channels far more than previous generations. A massive 97% say they use social media as a primary source for shopping inspiration, favoring visual mediums like Instagram and TikTok to inspire their purchases.

Pro tip: To keep up with these habits, brands need to embrace truly omnichannel customer experiences and service. Our consolidated, conversation-driven system helps your support center track and reference the entirety of a customer’s experience, ​​allowing full transparency of a shopper’s omnichannel journey in one resource. This helps agents bring up customer information on the fly and across channels with no friction on the shopper’s side.

On top of this universal conversation system, Gladly excels at facilitating connection with customers across social media, helping you build brand affinity through Facebook and Instagram, and integrating directly with your social listening tools. Mastering this evolving form of communication is essential to meeting Gen Z where they spend time online and staying in their social circles in the future.

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2. Spending on better, more sustainable products

A key contrast of Gen Z vs millennials shopping habits is the freedom with which the former spends on higher-value products. One fascinating indicator of this trend is how much these younger shoppers use “buy now, pay later” or BNPL; a Vogue/GQ survey found that 22% of Gen Z have used it since the start of the pandemic. This form of purchasing allows these shoppers to afford pricier items they normally wouldn’t be able to pay upfront, indicating a desire to buy more luxury and longer-lasting products.

Pro tip: Your ecommerce business can take advantage of this willingness to spend on better products through your support center. Train your agents to be experts on your entire catalog, providing them with our central knowledge base technology to easily reference any product information they need. They’ll be able to connect key aspects of different items and see which combination orders would best suit different customers’ desires, making them more prepared to upsell to this quality-conscious generation.

3. Craving curation in their experiences

A personal touch goes a long way for Gen Z. Brands need to take the time to create unique experiences and recommendations based on deep understanding of the individual desires of this shopper cohort. Great examples of curated experiences include year in review content, popularized by Spotify and now adopted by brands like Instacart to Duolingo. These shareable pieces have gained enormous clout on social media as they make brand interactions and customer behaviors more personal, interactive, and fun.

Pro tip: Using curation and personalization is critical not only to encourage one-off purchases but also to secure Gen Z’s long-term loyalty. The Customer Expectations Report shows that 32% of consumers reported they’d “fall in love” with a brand because of great service, but that number was significantly higher for Gen Z at 40%. To take advantage of this desire for service, brands should use a customer profile-based service platform to help support agents store and reference information at any point in a shopping experience. From personal details like birthdays to rewards points, product preferences and past purchases, each agent has a unique view of the customer in seconds, eliminating the need to open multiple tabs or dig through old tickets. This helps maintain a strong relationship no matter the mood or occasion for the customer.

Gladly and Gen Z Shopping Habits

In Gladly, ecommerce brands tap into a platform that provides essential support tools out-of-the-box, setting you up for long-term success with Gen Z. Through a conversation-driven system that emphasizes radical personalization, your retail business can start nurturing the kinds of loyal relationships that will have these young shoppers coming back to your store well into the future.


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