Gen Z shoppers love celebrities and search for uniqueness and social justice, new study finds
A new study focused on Generation Z's buying habits shows that the demographic puts a premium on style and uniqueness, is heavily influenced by celebrities and social media, and has a mind for social consciousness.
Defined as those born from 1998 onward, 15,500 Gen-Z respondents from nine countries were polled in the analysis by global consulting firm OC&C Strategy Consultants.
Results showed that members of Gen Z are 7.2 percent more likely than other generations to say having a unique style is "very important" to them, with 25 percent believing it is important to have a unique view on style, hobbies and creativity. In addition, this generation is more likely to be influenced by celebrities and friends when making purchases. As a result, brands with high levels of product personalization and customization are leading Gen-Z appeal (OC&C points to NikeID's customization tool as a major success), in addition to brands that prioritize high-profile collaborations, such as H&M, while high followings on social media platforms like Instagram and Twitter are critical for reaching young consumers.
As evidenced by hypebeast culture, OC&C further emphasized that limited-edition mainstream ranges are another tactic that can help businesses reach Gen Zers.
Beyond the surface level, the study further found that Gen Z also cares about social responsibility, especially social justice, equal rights, community welfare and diversity. According to OC&C, one quarter of Gen Zers say they consciously buy products that can be used repeatedly, while over a third try to buy and keep items they truly need. 13 percent of Gen Z selects products based on sustainability, compared to 9 percent of Gen Xers.
Additionally, OC&C found Gen Zers "have high expectations of brands to respect and even advocate the causes they support," meaning brands which display authentic action in relation to causes like animal welfare, equality, diversity and human rights will excel among these consumers.
Additionally, the poll found that brands that create and celebrate their communities and "superfans" – think Sephora's Beauty Insider community and Glossier's community of reps – do well with Gen Z by encouraging engagement, making fans feel special and fostering brand-centered identity.
Unsurprisingly, the study found that due to the influence of the internet and social media on the demographic, Gen Z is quickly becoming the most international generation yet, meaning retailers must set themselves up for rapid reactive production.
Currently, Gen-Z makes up 30 percent of the worldwide population and is responsible for 7 percent of spending, a figure that is set to grow in the future.
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