Get a move on: Gen Z the most critical online shoppers

gen zGeneration Zers may have been branded workshy, selfish and greedy – as well as anxious and “purpose-driven” – but now it seems they are also the most impatient and the least contented with their online shopping experiences.

That is one of the key findings of a new survey of over 1,000 young people aged 18 to 24, and a total of over 2,000 UK consumers, conducted by global research specialists Advanis for Sitecore.

It reveals that three-fifths (61%) of Gen Zers say they are now less loyal to the brands they usually shop at, compared to 33% of Baby Boomers (aged 55+). A further 69% of Gen Z say they have become less patient with poor online experiences since the pandemic.

The results show young people are now the toughest online customers to please, with older shoppers generally more forgiving.

In fact, 18- to 34-year-olds are the most likely to have posted a negative review in the last 12 months while Gen Z shoppers are twice as likely to say they have experienced poor customer service as Baby Boomers.

To hammer home the point 44% of Boomers say they have not had a poor experience online in the past year, compared to only 14% of Gen Z.

Meanwhile, nearly three-quarters (72%) of Gen Z expect a highly personalised experience from online retailers, compared to 39% of Boomers and 43% say they experienced late or slow delivery, compared to 28% of those over 24.

Even so, Gen Z are much more likely to describe themselves as digital converts, who want to keep buying everything online since the pandemic (63% compared to 48% of other generations).

Similarly, two-thirds (66%) do not miss real world shopping as much as they thought they would, compared to 43% of Boomers. Along with Millennials (aged 25 to 34), they are the most likely to say they now find online shopping more enjoyable than in-person shopping; 63% of Gen Z, compared to 29% of Baby Boomers stated this.

Gen Z now accounts for approximately 40% of consumers globally, so while they have limited spending power at the moment, the pressure will rise for brands to win over this customer base and meet their expectations for personalisation, rewards for loyalty and inspirational digital experiences.

Sitecore chief marketing officer Paige O’Neill said: “Even though the world is now returning to physical shopping experiences, the habits and expectations that lockdowns have established in consumers’ digital preferences are here to stay.

“If brands are to win over Gen Z, who represent the future of their customer base, they must create personalised digital experiences to cut through the competition. If they don’t impress fast, they risk being ‘cancelled’ and losing loyalty overnight.”

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