Gen Z Shopping Trends All Retailers Should Know About

The majority of Gen Z still prefers to make purchases in person rather than online— 81% of the generation's shoppers prefers to shop in brick-and-mortar stores. 


By: Anna Ikle-Maizlish As Generation Z (youth born between 1997 and 2012) enters the consumer marketplace, they are becoming the largest influential generation, reshaping shopping trends and encouraging older consumers to adopt new products and their tech savvy habits.  The way your store responds to Gen Z’s wants and needs could have a significant impact on your business’s success in the coming years. Let’s take a look at 3 top trends that showcase Gen Z’s preferences and what they expect from retailers today.

Top 3 Preferences from Gen Z 

1. Authentic Commitment to Sustainability

A 2019 study found that an overwhelming majority of Gen Z consumers prefer to buy sustainable products and are willing to spend 10% more on them. With this in mind, brands will need to set forth sustainable initiatives and see them through. For example, in May Allbirds and Adidas launched a new style of sports performance shoe with the lowest carbon footprint ever, marking the success of two competitive brands who came together to reach one very lofty goal. 

2. Personalized Experienced

Gen Z values individualized, personalized products and experiences both in physical stores and online — In 2019 77% of Gen Z said that personalized recommendations were extremely important to them when shopping online.  When Nordstrom opened its men’s only store in Manhattan, the brand went above and beyond to make shopping at the new store enjoyable and convenient for its customers. In addition to being able to order items ahead of time and conveniently pick them up in-store, the brand offered alterations, fast returns and individual stylists who could come to your home.

3. Helpful In-Store Technology

Gen Z consumers are comfortable with shopping across online and in-person stores and adopting new in-store technology. A survey in 2019 found that 80% of Gen Z said they browsed an online retail store in the last month using a mobile device. In-store technology can modernize the most mundane aspects of shopping, like standing in line and finding products and sizes. Identify opportunities to use technology to improve your consumer’s experience.  For example, Crumbl Cookies is known for having a seamless ordering experience through its app and website. iPads are mounted on kitchen walls to expedite the baking process. Their social media-driven marketing maintains incredible online engagement to alert customers of their products and stores. It’s no surprise then that the tech-driven bakery has launched 254 stores in over 30 states in only four years.  Still, the majority of Gen Z still prefers to make purchases in person rather than online— 81% of the generation’s shoppers prefers to shop in brick-and-mortar stores. 

Leverage Location-Specific Customer Insights

Your best Gen Z customers aren’t just going to show up — even if you’ve built the most seamless customer experience possible. You need to know where these customers are already shopping today, so you can open your next location where it’s convenient for them. With Locate’s proprietary technology, you can open new stores in locations that have dense pockets of consumers with an affinity for your brand. Locate is the only tech-enabled brokerage leveraging millions of mobile devices to help retailers determine sites with confidence. To learn more about our site selection process, fill out the form below.


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