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Survey: Gen Z shoppers will turn to Instagram for the holidays

Young consumers are increasingly utilizing non-traditional shopping channels.

Desirable young consumers will increasingly utilize Instagram and other non-traditional shopping channels during the 2021 holiday season.

According to a new survey from retail operating system provider Brightpearl, two-thirds (66%) of surveyed Gen Z consumers have used non-traditional ways of spending (other than retailers’ mainstream shopping sites) in the past year, and 68% plan to use non-traditional shopping channels for Black Friday and holiday shopping, with Instagram (47%) the most popular option.

Other non-traditional holiday shopping channels Gen Z consumers plan to use this year include Facebook (40%), Amazon Alexa (35%), Pinterest (32%), TikTok (29%), and livestream shopping (25%). In addition, 45% of surveyed consumers in their 30s (millennials) intend to use similar non-traditional spending channels during their holiday and Black Friday shopping.

[Read more: Survey: Shopping via TikTok explodes]

Half of surveyed consumers prefer new social buying channels and livestream as they combine entertainment and shopping in the same way traditional malls do. Similarly, 46% of surveyed consumers think non-traditional channels are better because they can interact and socialize with their friends more easily while they shop.

Overall, respondents rated the following non-traditional payment channels as their 10 most popular, in order of preference:

  1. Facebook
  2. Retailers’ own apps
  3. WhatsApp
  4. Instagram
  5. YouTube
  6. Voice assistants (Amazon Alexa/Amazon Echo/Apple Siri/Google Assistant, etc.)
  7. Twitter
  8. Pinterest
  9. Livestream shopping via retailers’ sites
  10. SnapChat

The survey also asked consumers how they prefer to pay online. PayPal (58%) was the top choice, followed by credit (51%) and debit cards (47%). Other digital payment options cited by respondents included Amazon Pay (32%), Google Pay (29%), Apple Pay (26%), Shopify (19%), and Klarna (16%). 

Despite new ways to buy rapidly emerging for this holiday season, other Brightpearl research found very few businesses are set up to facilitate non-traditional ways of shopping. A study of 200 retailers from Brightpearl found low adoption for new discovery and selling channels, including TikTok (12%), YouTube (24%), and livestream spending (15%).

In addition, more than three in four (77%) surveyed retailers aren’t set up for Shopify, and 58% don’t allow consumers to pay through Amazon.

 “In the pre-Internet age, retailers gradually realized shopping can be a form of entertainment, and a wider social activity, which is not only fun for consumers but also results in more sales,” said spokesperson Nick Shaw. “As such, traditional stores made more effort to make shopping ‘an experience’ — a form of leisure. The ‘new normal’ for commerce this holiday season and beyond is now likely to be framed by many non-traditional ways of shopping, which provides a huge choice to consumers and retailers.”

“We really are at the beginning of a new trend — things are changing quickly in the world of online shopping. It is inevitable that more and more shoppers will buy and spend online in a variety of ways — especially as we approach Christmas and Black Friday. Unfortunately, many retailers will miss out because they aren’t set up to quickly add the new selling channels or payment methods that their customers now prefer,” added Shaw.

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