A shared love for Friends and 90s fashion trends may unite the Gen Z and Millennials, but the differences between these generational neighbours outweigh the similarities. While Gen Z jams to Olivia Rodrigo and is pro middle parting, Millennials prefer Kesha’s Tik Tok over the app and make personality traits out of Hogwarts houses. Their buying and spending habits are another thing that set them apart from each other. Gen Z may have just entered the workforce but is already influencing the future of shopping. With a key focus on expressing themselves through their retail choices, this generation doesn’t just buy a product, they buy a story— it’s about individuality over everything. Here are 4 ways that set them apart from the millennials, shopping edition:
Brick and Mortar Stores vs Online Shopping
Having lived in a world without the internet and smartphones, millennials have done their fair share of department store shopping. Ecommerce came to them as a tool to make their lives more convenient. Imagine having to take trips to the mall or grocery store for every little thing and then boom, you can now bring the mall to you, without moving an inch from your couch– it was exciting! Gen Z on the other hand who have grown up surrounded by technology, strive for something more real. They are omnichannel shoppers and enjoy the holistic experience of going to a brick and mortar store, trying on the clothes and making an instant purchase— the millennial patience of waiting 3-5 business days for delivery does not exist in their instant gratification world. “They are surprisingly old school. They are much more likely to shop in physical stores than millennials, who were the first generation to grow up with online shopping and who are more likely to shop that way,” a recent study conducted by McKinsey & Company concluded.
Emotional Connection And Quality Storytelling
Brand authenticity and transparency matter to Gen Z and they are often drawn to brands whose values align with theirs. According to a report from First Insight, 73% of Generation Z consumers are willing to pay 10% more for sustainable products. Compared to Millennials, Gen Z tries to look beyond tangible products to see what the brand stands for in order to find a deeper sense of fulfilment in their purchasing behaviour. Being more technologically savvy than the previous generations and a lot more aware of marketing gimmicks, they can easily identify an insincere advertisement or campaign and are not easily fooled.
Whose Opinion Matters To Them?
While boomers and Gen X relied on TV, radio, newspaper advertisements and word of mouth to find out about new products, millennials also had access to social media to find inspiration for their purchases. Gen Z however, has the best of all worlds. A 2021 Survey Monkey report found that Gen Z looks at “shopping websites (51%), social media (47%), friends and family (45%), and brick-and-mortar stores (44%) while Millennials, Gen Xers and Boomers overwhelmingly prefer shopping websites such as Amazon or Target to discover ideas when shopping, and are less likely to turn to social media and physical stores.” Recommendations from creators or influencers stand out among Gen Z (11%) as compared to millennials (7%). The report also says that 47% of Gen Zers use YouTube to research products before buying and 49% purchase more clothing due to social media.
Small Businesses And Personal Brands
The rise of thrifting and supporting small businesses can be credited to both Gen Z and millennials but since January 2020, small business spending has increased more than 260% for Gen Z on Afterpay which is 80% higher than millennials. While millennials tilt more towards wearing a certain brand to fit in with the crowd and take pride in showing off the brand name, Gen Z is looking for something that would show that they’re unique and stand out from the crowd. In fact, with such defined aesthetics, they themselves are brands with very specific tastes that motivate them to make a certain purchase. They don’t just buy anything off the rack— it first has to align with their aesthetic and their personal brand values, be good quality and environmentally sustainable and offer a good shopping experience.
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