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TikTok and Instagram are the choice of Gen Z for shopping and product discovery

The news: Nike, Forever 21, Lululemon, Urban Outfitters, and Sephora are some retailers that Gen Zers prefer visiting in person to shop at, owing to their use of social media in interesting ways, a study by MG2 and Berns Communications Group found.

  • One key to these retailers’ success in drawing Generation Z was their use of augmented reality and self-checkout counters.

Our July survey of Gen Z uncovered new insights on the group’s engagement with social media. A key point: Brands looking to reach this age cohort need to be present on multiple platforms.

Divided attention: For shopping and other popular activities such as search and engaging with influencers, no one social platform has a lock on Gen Z’s attention. Those ages 15 to 26 use many platforms.

  • For shopping and learning about new products, TikTok and Instagram are the most popular with Gen Zers. But our survey of 1,005 US Gen Z social users found that Pinterest also drew the attention of female social shoppers.
  • Instagram was the principal go-to platform for Gen Z males, though TikTok videos on male beauty have helped raise their awareness of skincare products.

Age preferences: The survey of Gen Zers found differences in the usage of major platforms among teens and adults.

  • Those ages 15 to 17 use a median of five social platforms a month, versus six for adults ages 18 to 26.
  • Older Gen Zers use Facebook, LinkedIn, Reddit, and the former Twitter (now called X) more than teens.
  • Teens have a higher preference for YouTube for viewing long videos.

The big takeaway: The fact that Gen Z’s attention is divided for key social media activities spells potential opportunities for brands and the major social networks.

Go further: For more on Gen Z’s usage of social media, read our report, US Gen Z Social Media Activities 2023.