Generation Z, or those born between 1997 and 2012, are currently the youngest and largest consumer group. As the first generation to grow up in the digital age, they have unique purchasing behaviors that differ from previous generations. Wondering what makes them unique??? You came to the right place if you’re interested in learning more about the top trends in Gen Z consumer habits, retail, and shopping.

As the first truly digital native generation, you should know: Members of Gen Z are much more comfortable shopping online than in brick and mortar stores. According to a survey conducted by Piper Sandler, 58% of this cohort prefers to shop online. This is in contrast to the Baby Boomers and Generation Xers, who still prefer shopping in stores.

One reason for this is the convenience factor. Gen Z is used to having everything at their fingertips, and shopping online is no exception. They can shop from anywhere, at any time, and have their purchases delivered straight to their door. This was especially true during the COVID-19 pandemic, where many physical stores were closed or had limited hours.

Social media (and the social networks which play host to online postings) is huge with members of this demographic as well. As compared to previous generations? They’re WAYYY more apt to discover new products through social media platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat than via traditional advertising. In fact, a survey by Kantar found that 72% of Gen Z has made a purchase directly from a social network.

News flash: Social media influencers also play a significant role in driving Gen Z shopping habits. These are people who have built a large following online and are paid to promote products. Younger audiences are generally more open to trusting the opinion of an influencer than a traditional celebrity or advertisement. In fact, a study by Morning Consult found that 54% of Gen Z is more likely to buy a product if it is recommended by an influencer they follow.

And, naturally, this population is also known for being more environmentally conscious than previous generations. Want to court them? You can bet that they’ll be prioritizing sustainable and eco-friendly products and companies going forward. Research by McKinsey tells us that 70% of Gen Z respondents are willing to pay more for products that are environmentally friendly.

And PS – Gen Z also likes to buy secondhand or vintage clothing and accessories, which reduces waste and the environmental impact of the fashion industry. They also put a huge premium on companies that have sustainable and ethical practices.

Mobile and online payments also resonate with them more deeply than with prior generations. In other words, they really dig paying for goods and services using a smartphone or tablet. This is much more convenient than traditional payment methods like cash or credit cards.

Such high-tech solutions are also more secure and can help prevent fraud. This is important to Gen Z, who are more likely to be concerned about data privacy and security than previous generations.