Exploring the Shopping Habits of Generation Z

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Interactions, a global leader in experiential retail marketing, released “The Next Generation of Retail,” a study of more than 2,000 Americans aged 14-19, known as “Gen Z,” that explores their shopping habits and how they prefer to interact with retailers and brands. With Generation Z currently making up 25 percent of the total U.S. population and possessing a buying power of $44 billion, this multitasking, tech-savvy cohort is about to turn the retail industry on its head.

“Generation Z is constantly connected to technology, which retailers may find intimidating to overcome when it comes to in-store engagement,” said Interactions President Bharat Rupani. “However, our study found that this group is longing for retailers to provide an engaging in-store experience. In fact, when given the choice, over 64% prefer shopping in-store versus online.”

The Interactions study examines elements relating to the Gen Z shopper, including: shopper profile, in-store vs. online experiences, brand loyalty, technology and social media preferences.

Shopper Profile

Cohorts from Gen Z are very price-conscious (89 percent), and they also prefer to spend their money on experiences vs. material items (62 percent). For instance, Gen Z spends most of their weekly budget on food (80 percent), while 48 percent allot their money towards experiences with friends. It’s important for retailers to keep in mind that this generation is looking to engage and seek out products that provide both an experience and instant gratification. Additionally, 64 percent of Gen Z prefers to use cash as their method of payment vs. credit and debit cards.

In-Store vs. Online Experiences

Although Gen Z is one of the most digitally-savvy generations, 64 percent prefer shopping in-store vs. online. Three-quarters of Gen Z respondents also prefer to shop at retailers that provide an engaging in-store experience, which brands and retailers should take into consideration. When it comes to a satisfying in-store experience, the top three components Gen Z looks for are a clean store, friendly and knowledgeable associates and a positive checkout experience.

Brand Loyalty

Generation Z does not have strong brand loyalty, the Interactions study finds. In fact, 81 percent are willing to switch from their favorite brand if they find a similar product at a higher quality. Similarly, 79 percent don’t care if a product is from a national or private brand as long as it’s of good quality. On a positive note for brands, 80 percent are willing to sign up for loyalty cards in exchange for deals/discounts.


Even with the uptick in retail cyber breaches, 78 percent of Generation Z trusts that retailers will keep their personal information safe, though, 59 percent avoid shopping at retailers that have been hit by security breaches in the past. In addition, three-quarters of respondents check a store’s app when they’re shopping for special offers before making a final purchase, and 75 percent would rather shop at a retailer that accepts mobile payments over one that doesn’t.



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