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Survey reveals online shopping habits of Gen Z

Gen Z consumers prefer TikTok.

High-value Gen Z consumers have some specific preferences when it comes to finding and buying products online.

According to the Q1 2023 Consumer Trends Report from e-commerce platform Jungle Scout, 43% of surveyed Gen Z consumers start their online product searches on TikTok, a higher number than those who start on Google. 

[Read more: Report: TikTok may be considering Walmart/Oracle deal again]

And despite inflation, 32% of Gen Z respondents shop online at least once daily. This frequency compares to 25% of millennials, 15% of Gen X, and 7% of baby boomer respondents. 

Gen Z respondents are also the most likely to shop secondhand online to save money, with 42% purchasing a pre-owned item digitally in the past year.

The survey also revealed some distinct online shopping preferences of other generations:

  • Millennial respondents are more worried about their finances than respondents from any other generation, and are nearly twice as likely to have an unstable household income compared to surveyed baby boomers.
  • Baby boomer respondents are 78% more likely than Gen Z respondents to purchase items on sale and are more likely than any other generation to use credit cards with money-saving perks. 
  • 56% of Gen X respondents and 43% of surveyed millennials are cutting back on fun/impulse purchases to save money, compared to only 37% of Gen Z respondents.

“In the world of e-commerce, one size does not fit all,” said Michael Scheschuk, president of small & medium business at Jungle Scout. “Businesses must understand each generation's unique values, preferences, and behaviors to create tailored strategies. As the youngest and newest cohort of shoppers, Gen Z offers invaluable insights into the current and future trends shaping retail.”

Millennials are also good online customers

Online retailers should also pay close attention to millennials, according to the “Global Voices Survey” from direct-to-consumer e-commerce company ESW. More than 27% of surveyed millennial consumers said they will spend significantly more online and less in-store this year across categories that include health & beauty, luxury, apparel & footwear, and consumer electronics

The study also revealed that nearly 73% of millennial respondents plan to spend the same or more online in 2023, which will make the millennial cohort the leader in global e-commerce spending for 2023.

Nearly 50% more millennial respondents will increase their online spending for health and beauty products compared to Gen Z respondents, and 42% more than Gen X and baby boomer respondents. Seventy-seven percent more millennial than baby boomer respondents will increase their online spending for apparel and footwear.

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