Gen Z holiday shoppers are turning to social media.
Retailers seeking business from young holiday shoppers need to be present in one specific channel.
A survey of U.S. shoppers younger than 25 from social commerce company SimplicityDX found that 80% of respondents plan to use social media to find holiday gifts this year, with 41% planning to use it for most or all of their holiday shopping.
Almost all (93%) of the respondents in the“What Gen Z Thinks About Holiday Season Shopping 2022" report use social media as part of their buying process, and 51% think social media is a great place to learn about new products. A little more than one in five (22%) respondents think social media is a great place to buy new products.
However, 74% of respondents prefer to make purchases on the brand site, and not buy on the social platform itself. Sixty percent of respondent shopping activity is covered by two platforms, Instagram and TikTok.
Gen Z has social media trust issues
Despite social media’s popularity with Gen Z consumers, the survey reveals that trust remains a big issue, with a combined six in 10 (61%) respondents stating that either they don’t trust social networks, or they think that social networks are abusing their personal data.
The research also highlights skepticism among Gen Z about influencers. Almost two-thirds of respondents think that influencers are most useful for finding out about new products, while nearly half think that influencers are most useful for recommendations. When it comes to buying, 36% of respondents consider influencers to be less trustworthy, while 59% prefer to buy directly from the brand site, not from the influencer.
“The majority of the next generation of consumers start their shopping at the edge and finish by checking out on the brand site,” said Charles Nicholls, co-founder and chief strategy officer at SimplicityDX. “Their preference for using social media for shopping should be a wake-up call to all brands targeting Gen Z — and an early warning that the way consumers buy is changing.
“The prevalence of scams, fake news, and inauthentic influencer endorsements has conditioned Gen Z to be wary and to seek out authenticity,” Nicholls continued. “The strong preference to buy on the brand site is driven by several factors: trust in the brand is important; product availability and assortment frequently differ on social; returns; and critically over the holiday period, promotions on the brand’s site are frequently not reflected in social media product catalogs.”
Survey – Gen Z responds to social media, influencers
Another recent survey, from Oracle and CRM Essentials, supports findings that Gen Z shoppers are increasingly turning to social media influencers and online communities to form opinions, buy from brands, and get their questions answered. For example, Gen Z respondents were the most likely to discover products and brands via influencers (32%). In addition, 84% Gen Z respondents have purchased products in direct response to social media content.