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Gen Z prefers this type of online content

young male shopper
Gen Z shoppers prefer visual shopping content.

Gen Z shoppers are increasingly looking for a specific source of online product information.

According to a new global consumer survey from Cloudinary, close to six in 10 (57%) respondents conduct their entire shopping journey, from research to purchase, online. While every age group relies on reviews to make buying decisions, the survey showed that the younger the consumer, the more likely they are to shop online frequently and rely on visual and social media testimonials.

The criteria for “a great shopping experience” varies by age group. The top three for Gen Z respondents were user reviews with images (63%), text-only reviews (62%) and a detailed product gallery (52%). At the other end, silent generation respondents most valued a detailed product gallery (67%), text-only reviews (60%), and branded product videos (28%).

The survey also found that detailed and realistic product images could play a role in reducing returns and abandoned carts. Three in 10 respondents reported that they have returned goods because the products did not look as expected on the website, and 46% of respondents reported abandoning digital carts of clothing/shoes because they were unsure if the items would fit.

Respondents who had abandoned online carts of clothing/shoes said they would be more likely to buy if they had access to digital media such as 360-degree images (57%), 3D models (53%), and user-generated videos (50%).

Other highlights from the survey include:

  • Close to three in 10 (28%) respondents prefer to research online and then buy in store. Only 10% research and buy in store; while 5% research in store and then buy online. Overall, 62% of respondents stated that online research is important to them when making purchasing decisions.
  • The top five factors respondents considered when researching products were product reviews (81%); product pages on retailer websites (56%); conversations with friends (50%); videos from real customers showing products in use (37%); and brand videos (27%).
  • Both millennial (74%) and Gen Z (73%) respondents primarily shop online using their smartphones. Gen Z is also the most likely group to use a brand’s app (26%) to shop. In contrast, the silent generation (71%) and baby boomers (64%) shop online mainly from desktop PCs.
  • A little more than half (52%) of respondents said that they have bought a product from a brand they didn't know - but 47% said they did so because the product page had user images to review. This compares against 28% saying that user images make them more likely to buy a product they're interested in, in general.

“Highly visual and informative online shopping experiences are table stakes for retailers today,” said Genevieve Haldeman, VP of corporate marketing, Cloudinary. “In order to engage their buyers, brands need to offer innovative and immersive experiences while also delivering exceptional performance, regardless of the channel shoppers choose.”

[Read more: The drivers of Gen Z consumer decisions are…]

The Cloudinary Global E-Commerce Survey was conducted by independent research company Researchscape International, polling 2,693 consumers across Australia, Germany, the U.K., and the U.S. between March 27 and April 11, 2023.

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