Attention Small Businesses: Here is What You Must Know About Gen Z Consumers

Businesswoman using mobile phone by office window, London, UK

Generation Z is on track to be the most money-driven, financially powerful generation ever. This generation’s unique habits will play a vital role in shaping America’s commerce. Young people’s consumer habits will also be a key driver in influencing retail practices in the future.

This was the finding of a new report released by Morning Consult. It’s titled ‘Understanding Gen Z: How America’s Largest, Most Diverse, Best-Educated, and Most Financially Powerful Generation Will Shape the Future.’

The report is based on thousands of interviews with 18 to 21-year-olds.

Gen Z Consumers

The survey explores the consumer habits of Generation Z — those born between 1997 and 2012. And it provides important insight for small business retailers. It examines what they should be doing to appeal to what will be the most money-driven, financially-powerful generation there’s ever been.

While enamored with major technology and social media brands, Generation Z enjoys shopping in-person. The survey found 48% of all Gen Z adults enjoy shopping in-store more than digital methods of shopping.

The figure is slightly higher amongst female adult Gen Z’s. 55% of the women interviewed say shopping in a physical store is their preferred way to shop. That contrasts with 40% of Gen Z men.

Debit Cards are Gen Z Consumer’s Preferred Payment Method

The research also looked at the way Gen Z pay for everyday items. It found the debit card is the most common way to pay for items. 47% of all Gen Z adults purchase products with a debit card. 30% of Generation Z adults use cash to buy things like groceries and gas. And 11% regularly use credit cards.

The survey participants were also asked about reviews. This included which types of reviews mattered to them the most when looking to try a new product or service.

41% of the Gen Z’s interviewed said consumer reviews and ratings on a website are most important. And 38% believe recommendations from friends or family are the most important type of review when determining whether to purchase a product or service.

Gen Z Consumers Value Expert Reviews

36% of the 18 to 21-year-olds interviewed said they believe expert reviews are most important, and 17% said a recommendation from an influencer or account they follow on social media was the most important type of review when it comes to deciding whether to buy something.

The report also notes the importance Generation Z places on convenient, quick and efficient shopping transactions. As the report’s authors note:

“Two-day delivery and other seamless online shopping experiences have become commonplace in the years since Gen Z first began spending serious money, driving high expectations about convenience.”

Gen Z is set to become the most financially driven generation. So it is vital small businesses keep up to speed with what this generation deem as important.

To remain competitive amongst this generation of spenders, small businesses need to provide the seamless, quick and convenient service this young generation expects.

Small businesses will need to consider their business reviews and be proactive in making online consumer reviews work in their favor.

Given that Gen Z consumers prefer in-store shopping, a retailer would be wise to provide customers with a choice of shopping in-store and from an ecommerce site.

The key takeaway is that the financially motivated Generation Z is poised to be one of the biggest consumers in America and consequently small businesses need to cater for the age group’s demands, habits and preferences in order to appeal to a generation of spenders.