For their entire lives, the Gen Z population has been surrounded by the internet. Unlike millennials, Gen Xers, and baby boomers that can remember the days before the world wide web, Gen Zers grew up in an environment where constant information and social media were only a few simple finger taps away.
In a recent blog, National Merchants Association highlighted Generation Z and how they’re largely responsible for the comeback of brick and mortar. Further showcasing this important consumer sector, not only is Gen Z helping to boost retail sales, they’re also using social media to learn where to shop and why.
The way that social media has exploded in the relatively short amount of time that it’s been in existence has had a profound effect on young people, particularly Gen Zers. They use it to connect with the world, share updates, and now, more than ever, influence their purchases.
It really shouldn’t be a surprise that social media has had such a large influence and continues to be for this group of young consumers, considering that they’ve been immersed in an internet-centered world since the day they were born.
Research from Yes Lifecycle Marketing revealed that more than 80% of Gen Z is influenced by social media when it comes to making purchases, compared to their next-oldest counterparts, millennials (74%). Interestingly enough, these numbers drop quite dramatically when compared to Gen X (58%) and baby boomers (41%).
So what type of social media appeals to Gen Zers and has the biggest effect on them? According to Yes, among social media channels available today, Gen Zers are more likely to gravitate toward Instagram (44%), YouTube (32%), and Snapchat (21%). By comparison, millennials, second in each of these categories, match up at 21%, 11% and 22% respectively, demonstrating just how much of an impact social media has on the emerging consumer base.
Older shoppers such as baby boomers and Gen Xers look to Facebook for shopping influences (38% and 44% percent each) rather than Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube. Interestingly, Pinterest posted the same amount of influence across the board, ranging between 12% and 16% across the generations.
The fact that most Gen Zers have multiple social media accounts definitely highlights the need for companies and businesses to appeal across multiple platforms. In fact, the Yes report references the importance of cross-channel marketing when targeting them: “These shoppers expect quality experiences across the board. They’re also more likely to use social media and mobile when shopping, because they consider these channels equally as important as email. This means that marketers must create a consistent and cohesive cross-channel experience with messaging that focuses on a product or quality, not price.”
Erin Gade, a marketing strategist at Yes and one of the key researchers of the report, said she sees social media becoming an increasingly large factor for all age groups, not just Gen Z: “I imagine nothing but social media growing and more social platforms coming on board as we move through the years.” Additionally, Gade thinks social media marketing will “span across all generations in the near future,” once retailers figure out the best ways to market through it.
There’s no question: retail is online, on mobile and now, increasingly on social media. Brands that don’t want to get left behind should prepare marketing strategies that include the popular social media outlets that Gen Z is turning to before making purchase decisions.
Please visit National Merchants Association for information about the growing consumer base known as Generation Z and to find ways to effectively market to them. To learn more about processing payments from Gen Zers, feel free to contact us today!