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Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Gen Z Online Shopping Habits market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Key points included

  • Gen Zs love Amazon
  • Opinions of others influence Gen Z purchases
  • Use social media to socialize with young shoppers
  • Multi-channel shopping is an opportunity for other retailers to engage young shoppers

Covered in this report

For the purposes of this report, Mintel has split Gen Z into two groups:

Tween/teen Gen Z: aged 12-17

Adult Gen Z: aged 18-24

This report will focus on how Gen Z consumers are shopping online across categories, including what motivates consumers to shop online, what barriers currently limit or prevent consumers from purchasing online, and what retailers can do to improve online shopping in the future. In the Mintel consumer data referenced, Gen Z consumers are those between the ages of 12-24.

Readers may also be interested in Mintel’s Marketing to the iGeneration – US, May 2019 and May 2018.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Alexis DeSalva, a leading analyst in the Retail & Apparel sector, his extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Despite the lifestyle differences of teens and adults, Gen Z shoppers demonstrate consistent shopping behavior, with a preference for shopping both online and in stores. It’s crucial to acknowledge that, despite their heavy online engagement and social media integration in their purchase journeys, they aren’t solely shopping in one channel. Engaging with them both on and offline will be critical to engaging with Gen Z, especially as they mature and possess more shopping needs and purchasing power Alexis DeSalva
Retail & Apparel Analyst


What's included

What's included

Table of contents

Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

        • Overview
          • Gen Zs love Amazon
            • Multi-channel shopping is an opportunity for other retailers to engage young shoppers
              • Opinions of others influence Gen Z purchases
                • Use social media to socialize with young shoppers
                  • What it means
                  • Market Breakdown

                    • Overview: who are Gen Zs?
                      • Teens
                        • Adults
                        • Market Factors

                          • Approximately 17% of the population are Gen Z consumers
                            • Figure 1: Population, by generation, 2018
                            • Figure 2: Distribution of generations, by race, 2018
                            • Figure 3: Distribution of generations, by Hispanic origin, 2018
                          • Age and life stage impacts spending power
                            • Figure 4: Household income distribution, shares by age of householder, 2017
                          • A social generation
                          • Competitive Landscape – What You Need to Know

                            • Both teen and adult Gen Zs consider Amazon the best
                              • Traditional retailers try to lure young shoppers back to stores
                                • Shopping is social
                                • What’s Trending?

                                  • Teens spend on food and clothes
                                    • Amazon evolves the meaning of seamless shopping
                                      • Figure 5: Teen perceptions of Amazon, March 2019
                                      • Figure 6: Amazon Instagram post, April 2019
                                    • American Eagle maintains cool factor through streetwear and subscriptions
                                      • Figure 7: Teen perceptions of American Eagle, March 2019
                                      • Figure 8: American Eagle email campaign, February 2019
                                      • Figure 9: American Eagle Instagram post, March 2019
                                  • What’s Struggling?

                                    • Macy’s looks to combat negative perceptions with an Instagram-worthy experience
                                      • Figure 10: Adult Gen Z perceptions of Macy’s, March 2019
                                      • Figure 11: STORY Instagram photo, April 2019
                                      • Figure 12: STORY Instagram photo, April 2019
                                  • What’s Emerging?

                                    • Social shopping
                                      • Figure 13: Poshmark Instagram post, March 2019
                                      • Figure 14: Winc Instagram post, January 2019
                                    • Instant shopping through Instagram
                                      • Don’t discount DTC
                                        • Figure 15: Adult Gen Z perceptions of Wayfair & Glossier, March 2019
                                        • Figure 16: The party starts on April 10. Get Ready for Way Day!, April 2019
                                        • Figure 17: Glossier Instagram post, March 2019
                                    • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                      • Gen Zs prioritize clothing and entertainment
                                        • Gen Zs love Amazon, but also show interest in emerging retailers
                                          • Gen Zs shop on and offline
                                            • Young shoppers seek others’ input through reviews and social media
                                              • Privacy and policy are important to Gen Z shoppers
                                              • Items Purchased

                                                • Key highlights:
                                                  • Clothing is king when it comes to online purchases for Gen Z
                                                    • Figure 18: Items purchased – Gen Z teens, March 2019
                                                    • Figure 19: Items purchased – Gen Z adults, March 2019
                                                  • Traditional gender norms drive teens’ purchases
                                                    • Figure 20: Items purchased – Teens, by gender, March 2019
                                                    • Figure 21: Ntwrk Instagram post, May 2019
                                                  • Higher income young adults more likely to shop online
                                                    • Figure 22: Items purchased – Adults, by income, March 2019
                                                • Spending, Recipients and Purchase Frequency

                                                  • Key highlights:
                                                    • Many Gen Z purchases are made by or for others
                                                      • Parents fund most teen purchases
                                                        • Figure 23: Beats by Dre YouTube clip, April 2019
                                                        • Figure 24: Who pays for teen Gen z purchases, March 2019
                                                      • Adult Gen Z are fulfilling gifting and household needs online
                                                        • Figure 25: Purchase for self or others, by product type, March 2019
                                                      • Gen Z shoppers are restocking groceries online
                                                        • Figure 26: Purchase frequency – Weekly, by product type, March 2019
                                                        • Figure 27: Target email campaign, March 2019
                                                    • Retailers Shopped

                                                      • Key highlights:
                                                        • Three quarters of all Gen Z consumers shop Amazon
                                                          • Figure 28: Retailers shopped, teen Gen Z vs adult Gen Z, March 2019
                                                        • Teen girls shop traditional retailers online
                                                          • Figure 29: Retailers shopped (select) – Teens, by gender, March 2019
                                                        • Alternative retailers appeal to certain Gen Zs’ social connections
                                                          • Figure 30: Retailers shopped (select) – Adults, by gender, March 2019
                                                          • Figure 31: Rent the Runway Instagram post, March 2019
                                                          • Figure 32: Hello Fresh Instagram post, March 2019
                                                        • Hispanic adults shop a mix of traditional and alternative retailers
                                                        • Online Shopping Behavior

                                                          • Key highlights:
                                                            • Majority of Gen Z shoppers do a mix of online and offline shopping
                                                              • Social media and peers elicit purchases among older Gen Z shoppers
                                                                • Teens
                                                                  • Figure 33: Online shopping behavior – Teens, social media and peer integration, March 2019
                                                                • Adults
                                                                  • Figure 34: Online shopping behavior – Adults, social media and peer integration, March 2019
                                                              • Attitudes toward Online Shopping

                                                                • Key highlights:
                                                                  • Gen Z shoppers base shopping decisions on trip mission, but that doesn’t make them disloyal
                                                                    • Older teens do more exploring online, but have more concerns
                                                                      • Figure 35: Attitudes toward online shopping –Teens, by age, March 2019
                                                                    • Hesitation and privacy are cause for concern among adults
                                                                      • Figure 36: Attitudes toward online shopping – Adults. March 2019
                                                                  • Attitudes toward Social Media and Reviews

                                                                    • Key highlights:
                                                                      • Adult Gen Z shoppers are influenced by product reviews
                                                                        • Figure 37: Attitudes toward social media and reviews – Both groups, March 2019
                                                                      • Teen girls seek social media interaction with brands
                                                                        • Figure 38: Attitudes toward social media and product reviews – Teens, by gender, March 2019
                                                                      • Women seek feedback, while men are more willing to share
                                                                        • Figure 39: Attitudes toward social media and reviews – Adults, by gender, March 2019
                                                                        • Figure 40: Glossier Instagram post, September 2018
                                                                        • Figure 41: Dollar Shave Club Instagram Post, March 2019
                                                                    • Purchase Influencers

                                                                      • Key highlights:
                                                                        • Peer recommendations are most influential to Gen Zs’ purchases
                                                                          • Figure 42: Purchase influencers – Peer recommendations and social media, adults vs teens, March 2019
                                                                        • Advertisements are still effective
                                                                          • Influence on teens
                                                                            • Influence on adults
                                                                              • Figure 43: Purchase influencers – Both groups, advertisements, March 2019
                                                                            • Retailers can influence more purchases by engaging through social media
                                                                              • Figure 44: Purchase influencers – Both groups, Social media, March 2019
                                                                          • Important Brand Attributes

                                                                            • Key highlights:
                                                                              • Gen Z shoppers consider quality, privacy and return policies
                                                                                • Figure 45: Brand attributes (net any rank) – Teens, March 2019
                                                                                • Figure 46: Brand attributes (net any rank) – Adults, March 2019
                                                                              • Company values are important
                                                                                • Figure 47: Aerie email campaign, January 2019
                                                                                • Figure 48: Everlane mobile advertisement, April 2019
                                                                              • Adult men value alternative purchase options
                                                                                • Figure 49: Rent the Runway X West Elm email campaign, March 2019
                                                                                • Figure 50: Dollar Shave Club email campaign, March 2019
                                                                            • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                              • Data sources
                                                                                • Consumer survey data
                                                                                  • Direct marketing creative
                                                                                    • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                      • Abbreviations
                                                                                        • Terms

                                                                                        About the report

                                                                                        This report will give you a complete 360-degree view of your market. Not only is it rooted in robust proprietary and high-quality third-party data, but our industry experts put that data into context and you’ll quickly understand:

                                                                                        • The Consumer

                                                                                          What They Want. Why They Want It.

                                                                                        • The Competitors

                                                                                          Who’s Winning. How To Stay Ahead.

                                                                                        • The Market

                                                                                          Size, Segments, Shares And Forecasts: How It All Adds Up.

                                                                                        • The Innovations

                                                                                          New Ideas. New Products. New Potential.

                                                                                        • The Opportunities

                                                                                          Where The White Space Is. How To Make It Yours.

                                                                                        • The Trends

                                                                                          What’s Shaping Demand – Today And Tomorrow.

                                                                                        Please Note: This is a sample report. All of the figures, graphs, and tables have been redacted.