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Survey: Gen Z shoppers are less tech-centric than you think

The human factor has a surprisingly big influence on Gen Z purchase decisions.

According to the “Z-Tail Report,” a survey of over 1,000 U.S. consumers age 18-24 from workflow platform Retail Zipline, only 7% of respondents look to celebrities for style inspiration. More than half (56%) do not simulate trends they see on Instagram in their own style. 

However, 69% of respondents will take fashion advice from store associates when shopping in stores, and 41% will engage with a particular sales associate if they like what they are wearing When asked what would prompt them to shop repeatedly at one specific brand, 19% of respondents said genuine relationships with specific store associates.

Respondents are also interested in how store associates are treated by their employers. More than eight in 10 (82%) respondents are more likely to buy from a brand that uses ethical business practices. Of those respondents, 66% list fair treatment of employees as a key motivator. This exceeds the percentage of ethically motivated respondents who value eco-friendly packaging (59%), ethical sourcing (50%), donating profits to charity (48%), and vegan products (24%).

In another indicator “constantly connected” Gen Z shoppers look beyond technology, 46% of respondents said that mobile payments in stores, such as Venmo or Apple Pay, don’t appeal to them. Additionally, when asked what interaction they prefer with sales associates, the leading preference is a hands-on approach (65%), as opposed to a hands-off approach where they only assist when service is requested (35%). 

Other notable findings include:

•    58% of respondents prefer to shop in stores that have a longstanding presence in a particular location.
•    Only 11% choose to shop in stores that exist for a limited time, such as pop-ups.

•    60% of women and 64% of men are more likely to shop from brands with a commitment to keep photos minimally photoshopped. 
•    41% of women and 25% of men prefer brands that use plus-sized models.
•    48% of women and 29% of men prefer brands that showcase multi-racial models.
•    Just 14% of women and 18% of men are influenced by celebrity endorsements.

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