Generation Z (those born between the mid-1990s and the early-2000s) are the first generation of shoppers to grow up with unlimited possibilities for connectivity and high-speed internet. Understanding Generation Z is crucial if we are to cater to the next generation of consumers. Generation Z’s unique retail expectations and shopping traits stem from their upbringing and the influence that technology has had. Here are some ways in which shopping can evolve as the customers do, too.
Generation Z consumers expect digital and physical worlds to connect seamlessly. There is an assumption that transitioning from say, their smartphones, to shopping in a physical location will be smooth and hassle-free. Generation Zs will be looking up deals and product information while browsing the aisles. If there is a paired application or website, 60% of Generation Zs expect that it will be efficient, and user-friendly, according to the National Retail Federation.
Sharing and connectivity. Generation Zs have grown up directly connected to friends and families. There is a possibility for anyone in the world, at any time, to instantly share something on various social media forums. Katherine Cullen, director of retail and consumer insights at the U.S. National Retail Federation, said, “Unlike millennials who are more apt to write reviews when they’re unhappy, Gen Zs will spread their positive experiences with a brand or store and want to upload videos about their experiences.” Keeping this in mind, the influence that social media and its relationship with consumers and retail has is of utmost importance.
Generation Zs know their way around a kitchen. Growing up in busy households often leaves Generation Zs to fend for themselves foodwise. Having everything from recipes to ingredient information at their fingertips takes the daunting edge off venturing into the kitchen, as well. On top of this, food is a popular industry. There are so many fads and trends that people see online, or in restaurants, that encourage people—especially users of social media, i.e. Generation Z—to try new things and cook for themselves.
Generation Zs are growing up in a time of change—they understand the need for sustainability. Generation Zs endorse leftovers. At the very least, they like the idea of leftovers. Producers are encouraged to find ways in which leftovers can be exciting/promoted.
Convenience and price are paramount. Although parents still do the shopping in an average household, Generation Z consumers often visit stores regularly. On top of this, most households grocery/shopping habits are influenced by Generation Zs in some way. Snacking is huge, and teenagers still tend to lean towards a sugary or salty snack. Although the younger part of Generation Z may not have health concerns on their radar as much as the older part, healthy eating trends are sure to foster change as time goes on.
The biggest, and perhaps most important thing to keep in mind is that shopping habits change and develop as people grow. Shelley Balanko, senior vice-president of business development at the Hartman Group, said, “It’s all about figuring out how to target them now and then again in the future when they’re more independent.” Retailers need to be dynamic. Monitor trends and shopping habits and develop ways in which they can stay up-to-date and ahead. Technology plays a massive part in this and in order to be modernised, suppliers need to have a thorough understanding of the digital world and how consumers interact with it. Generation Z acts as a guinea pig in this era as new ideas, and ways of shopping are tested and perfected as they mature. Shopping habits developed now will help usher subsequent generations in who are increasingly reliant on/accustomed to using technology.