Move Over TikTok and Facebook. Instagram Tops the List for Gen Z Social Commerce

EnsembleIQ’s Path to Purchase Institute, which serves the needs of brand manufacturers, retailers, agencies and solution providers in the commerce marketing industry, today unveils a research report focused on Gen Z purchasing power. When it comes to social commerce, Instagram takes the top spot with 38% of Gen Z shoppers ranking it as their preferred platform for making in-app purchases. In addition to citing Instagram as the social platform that they engage with daily, Gen Z also called out the app’s ability to make personal recommendations and confidence that the platform protects their identity. TikTok and Facebook tied for second place for in-app purchases, both at 22%.

“Digitally savvy Gen Z, born approximately from 1997-2006, has come of age, boasting strong voices, unique behaviors and sought-after purchasing power,” said Jessie Dowd, Editorial Director, Path to Purchase Institute. “Our report offers insights to help brands and retailers understand Gen Z behaviors from the way they search, browse and shop across channels and platforms to what’s influencing their purchasing decisions.”

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Additional findings:

  • The Gen Z consumer is truly an omnichannel shopper, fluidly browsing and buying both online and offline. Fifty-one percent of respondents reported that they shop mostly in-store for everyday items, while 27% preferred online shopping.
  • The impact social media has on purchasing everyday items is greatly influenced by what Gen Z sees their personal social circle doing. The activity of friends, family, classmates and co-workers influences purchases for 75% of respondents. Retailer or brand social activity follows at 64%, with 18- to 24-year-olds (67%) more influenced than 16- to 17-year-olds (51%). Micro-influencers or celebrities have an overall impact at 42%-47%, especially among Hispanic or Black Gen Z shoppers.
  • Gen Z consumers are engaged shoppers. Gen Z is drawn to in-store options that are affordable and offer a one-stop shopping experience. Walmart (49%) and Target (19%) were referenced as Gen Z consumers’ favorite destinations for in-store shopping for everyday items. This is due to having everything they need and a wide selection at an affordable price.
  • The desire for one-stop shopping is still a Gen Z priority online as is affordability. Sixty-two percent identified Amazon as their favorite destination for online shopping with 31% focused on Amazon having everything they need. Thirteen percent of respondents preferred Walmart for online shopping with 37% noting affordability as a driving factor.
  • Whether in-store or online, Gen Z is enticed by a good deal. Ninety-one percent of respondents identify promotions and sales as impactful, while customer reviews or testimonials, personalized offers and informative content specific to products all ranked at 88% effective.
  • Gen Z shoppers primarily start their searches with Amazon (52%) or Google (43%). Retailer websites are used to start 28% of their searches, and TikTok 16%.
  • Social media supports about 50% of respondents’ browsing habits with Instagram and TikTok being the most popular at over 60%.
  • There is minimal interest from Gen Z respondents around NFTs (non-fungible tokens). Only 8% have purchased an NFT before and 31% percent say they are not at all interested in purchasing NFTs. More than one-third of the female respondents didn’t know what an NFT was.

The 2022 Path to Purchase Institute Gen Z Shopping Habits research study was fielded March 22-30, 2022. Respondents were 16- to 24-year-olds who self-reported shopping online or in-store at least once a month for one or more categories of interest.

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