Gen Z consumers reveal they don’t trust shopping on social media, and prefer social shopping IRL – Retail Times

Given Gen Z’s affinity with technology and online spaces, it’s easy to assume that this demographic of consumers will only buy their clothes online… But that’s not the case.

Photo by Katya Wolf

A recent survey of over 18,000 Gen Z students across the UNiDAYS network, revealed that while more than three quarters were used to buying their clothes online, a whopping 84% were looking forward to browsing the shops in person once the (pandemic related) restrictions were lifted. Additionally, more than half said that for them, shopping was a social activity to be done with friends.

Gen Z’s shopping habits

This digital generation is a force to be reckoned with, and their online behaviours are what drive many ad campaigns. The research revealed that 85% of UNiDAYS members will research a brand or product before they purchase, and if a brand’s online reviews are lacking, these consumers will struggle to convert.

The report also uncovered that a brand that offers discounts is one that will stay in favour. The majority (95%) of respondents said that they will always keep an eye out for a good offer, and 82% are brand loyal to those that regularly offer their network exclusive discounts.

Gen Z’s social habits

When it comes to online advertising, brand ads on social media ads may direct them to shop the latest collection, but it seems many Gen Z consumers are missing out on relevant marketing as more than half (56%) say that they don’t follow brands on social media. 

Worse still, less than half (49%) said they wouldn’t mind seeing relevant ads in their social feeds, so long as they didn’t make their way into private chats. More than three quarters said they would not be happy if brand ads appeared in instant messaging conversations, leaving brands a slim window of welcomed advertising, but not a lot of time to do so as the data also showed that brands have around 8 seconds in which to capture this generation’s attention (millenial attention span is 12 seconds).

Even if a brand does manage to capture the attention of Gen Z, shopping on social media isn’t the preference of these consumers. Three quarters of those surveyed said they don’t trust shopping directly on social media, and would prefer to shop via brand sites or trusted e-comm platforms like UNiDAYS instead.

Gen Z’s social conscience

While this generation may be leading the way with their daring fashion choices, they’re more concerned than ever about where their clothes come from and the impact this has on the planet.

More than two thirds surveyed say they prefer fashion brands who appeal to their social conscience. But, despite more than half of respondents considering themselves “woke” when it comes to sustainable shopping practices, one in four Gen Z shoppers admitted to not knowing where their clothes were manufactured.

Still, the report revealed that 79% of Gen Z shoppers said that sustainable fashion is incredibly important to them, with more than two thirds saying they wanted their fashion to be manufactured to the highest possible standard. Better still, more than a third (39%) are happy to buy second-hand in order to be more sustainable, while saving money too. 

The social conscience of these shoppers doesn’t just stop at sustainability, with LGBTQ+ discourse also proving important to them. Almost a quarter of the Gen Z shoppers surveyed said that they felt gendered language in regards to fashion is outdated or offensive, and almost half (43%) said gender doesn’t play a role in choosing clothes. Additionally, more than three quarters are not put off buying clothes that are marketed to another gender, prefering to choose fashion that feels comfortable and doesn’t follow trends rather than what’s designed “for them”.