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Survey reveals Gen Z’s shopping preferences

Gen Z consumers have unique shopping behavior.

Retailers cannot ignore the physical store when designing Gen Z omnichannel marketing and CRM strategies.

According to a new consumer survey from CM Group, a portfolio of marketing technology companies, 47% of Gen Z respondents (those born in 1997 and later) prefer to shop in a store compared to online, more than any other generation. In addition, 75% of Gen Z respondents prefer their smartphone when shopping online, compared to 69% of millennials.

When asked how they evaluate brands, 23% of Gen Z respondents rank authenticity as important, more than nearly any other product or company attribute, such as design or social impact. And 22% of Gen Z respondents note that a lack of transparency reduces their opinion of brands and products, more than any other generation.

Gen Z also revealed itself to be more dependent on social media as an informational source than other generations. Almost half (49%) of Gen Z respondents say they obtain their news and information from YouTube, compared to 37% of millennial respondents. 

In addition, 23% of Gen Z respondents share news and information on TikTok, twice that of respondents from any other generation. CM Group advises that delivering highly engaging messaging, such as personalized videos embedded within a newsletter or a livestream event on TikTok, is much more interesting to Gen Z consumers than to consumers in older generations.

“Gen Z presents a unique challenge and opportunity for marketers as they emerge from two years of hyper-focus on supply chain and pandemic-related issues. Contrary to popular opinion, this generation is not solely focused on technology-first experiences, instead preferring to balance both to suit their needs,” said Wendy Werve, CMO of CM Group. “These are consumers who are data- and privacy-savvy and are confident that they can get what they want both in-person and online. Marketers who aren’t evolving their future-looking strategies to engage this generation with transparent, authentic experiences are already falling behind.”

CM Group partnered with F’inn on a cross-generational survey of more than 1,000 consumers, between Sept. 30 and Oct. 7, 2021.

Gen Z moves to fast-fashion, online-only retailers
Recent analysis of Gen Z user data from social product recommendation platform Gist shows that, on Gist, Shein is number one in apparel stores, followed by Zara. And in just a year, the Australian-based fast-fashion online retailer Princess Polly jumped from number eight in clothing stores at the end of 2020 to grab the number three spot by the end of 2021. 

Fast-fashion is on the rise among Gen Z consumers as department stores dwindle in popularity, according to the data. Before the pandemic, Nordstrom was number nine in online sales on Gist. Its position has dropped to number 23 by the end of 2021.

Urban Outfitters was number one in clothing stores and number four in top stores for Gen Z consumers in Oct/Nov 2019. The retailer dropped to number 16 in Gist’s top stores by Oct/Nov 2021. And it’s fallen behind three international companies: Shein, Zara and Princess Polly.

In addition, Etsy was number eight on Gist’s list of top stores for the first nine months of 2021 and rose to number five for the holiday shopping season. Target shot up from number seven to number two in the same time period this year, second to Amazon. On Gist, Gen Z shoppers are twice as likely to shop at Target than Walmart.

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