AR or bust: JSYK Gen Z think immersive retail is dope

gen zLove ’em or loathe ’em, Generation Z consumers are the driving force behind a shift towards more immersive shopping experiences, with brands being urged to embrace augmented reality if they want to boost engagement with the youth of today.

According to a global study of nearly 5,000 Gen Z by Snap, carried out in partnership with Crowd DNA, visual communication is key, with 92% in the UK stating that they use some form of visual communication when messaging friends.

Three in five state that they use visual communication to get a more personal connection, while 50% say they use digital avatars and Bitmojis to express themselves.

However, it is the desire for AR which is the stand out finding, with 93% of those surveyed in the UK stating they are interested in using AR for shopping, and 88% interested in using AR to try on makeup or clothes.

AR also enables brands to connect with Gen Z, increasing the personalisation of visual content. Some 60% in the survey say AR experiences feel more personal, and 63% state that AR will make life easier.

But there is more: 80% of Gen Z are interested in using AR to enhance their entertainment experiences (vs 73% of Millennials and 65% of Gen X) and more than half (51%) say they are more likely to pay attention to an ad that incorporates AR.

Meanwhile two-thirds (67%) find value in taking action for the collective good and these respondents are three times more likely to want to use AR shopping tools to help reduce carbon emissions and their personal environmental impact.

Snapchat head of EMEA marketing insights Jo Tenzer said: “A powerful theme emerging from the study is the particularly strong desire among Gen Z to create meaningful connections with people and brands.

“Brands need to respond to this by being open, honest and clear with their goals, motivations and values. With a desire to express their true selves creatively and visually, Gen Z are also seeking fun, personalised, immersive and social experiences. AR offers the tool for brands to seamlessly facilitate this by enhancing real world experiences.”

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