YouTube, Facebook & Instagram to become favourite shopping channels for Gen Z

Young consumers are embracing new technologies faster than other generations and would like to see retailers provide new digital tools such as purchases via social media, according to a new global consumer survey.


Accenture examined the attitudes and expectations along the path to purchase of nearly 10,000 millennial and Gen Z consumers across 13 countries, finding that social media will become the preferred shopping channel for Gen Z with almost 70% of them interested in purchasing through social networks directly.

Visual social platforms including YouTube, Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are now being used by 44% of Gen Z’s as a source for product inspiration and more than one-third have increased their use of social media for purchase decision-making in the last year.

"Social media has emerged as a real disruptor in targeting Gen Z shoppers, who are true digital natives," said Jill Standish, senior managing director of Accenture's Retail industry practice.

"To succeed in this increasingly digital world, retailers must understand Gen Z's' expectations, influencer circles and behaviors - especially their social-media habits and how they differ from those of millennials.  If they are spending their time on social platforms, this is where they want to be buying their products." 

YouTube is the most-regularly used social media platform, preferred by 84% of Gen Z respondents, while Facebook is still the most-popular social platform for those aged between 21-27 and 28-37 years old. Gen Z shoppers also regularly use Instagram (66%) and Snapchat (54%).

Social media networks are important for younger consumers as they are more likely than millenials to purchase an item based on recommendations from watching YouTube videos or opinions of friends and family. In addition, when shopping online, Gen Z consumers are more likely to chat with an online sales assistant than their older counterparts.

Despite the shifting purchasing habits, physical stores still remain essential for younger consumers, with 60% still preferring to buy in-store, and nearly half saying they would check in store to get more information before making an online purchase.

Notably, 77% of Gen Z’s in the US said that brick-and-mortar stores are their preferred shopping channel.
The research also revealed that Gen Z shoppers are interested in new shopping methods, with 73% interested in curated subscription-type offering for fashion and 71% interested in automatic-replenishment schemes. Additionally, 38% of younger shoppers are willing to try voice-activated ordering, a feature that 10% is already using.

"Gen Z is the next big consumer market and purchasing powerhouse. Retailers need to invest in the digital tools that will enable them to speak to Gen Z through visuals, collaborate with them across multiple channels and devices, and make them feel part of their brand,” said Standish.

“Offering services such as crowd-sourcing, customization and hyper-personalization are a must-have capability for reaching a generation that is shaping and commanding today's digital retail landscape." 

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