Sometimes, consumers don’t behave how we expect. Despite their digital-native status, Gen Zers still shop in-store, while baby boomers are all about new-kid-on-the-block Temu. And though they’re still mostly children, Gen Alphas are making their mark on the retail landscape.
Here’s what retailers should take away from these unexpected behaviors.
The facts: 79% of consumers worldwide say they often discover products through social media, and 73% say they have purchased from social media in the past year, per August 2023 data from Bazaarvoice.
The assumption: Shopping in-store is becoming less relevant as consumers—particularly younger ones—use online channels like social media to browse and buy.
The unexpected twist: When it comes to making a purchase, Gen Z shoppers are more likely to buy new items in-store, especially in certain categories.
The lesson: In-store shopping is not dead among younger consumers. For example, Gen Zers are credited with helping to revive struggling malls. Yes, social media plays a major role, too, but it’s only one piece of the puzzle.
The facts: The oldest Gen Alpha consumers (i.e., those born between 2010 and 2024, per McCrindle) are turning 14 this year.
The assumption: Because Gen Alphas are still children, they don’t have favorite brands or purchasing power.
The unexpected twist: Gen Alphas have developed strong brand preferences from an early age and are prepared to act on them, as evidenced by their current obsession with skincare and beauty brands.
The lesson: Gen Alphas are quickly becoming powerful consumers, and marketers need to understand how this generation thinks, acts, and buys in order to secure their dollars.
The facts: Temu invested 76% of its ad spend on social media, compared with 13% on digital display ads and less than 5% each on online video, TV, and native formats, per MediaRadar.
The assumption: Temu’s socially forward ad strategy would resonate most with younger, tech-savvy consumers.
The unexpected twist: Gen Xers and baby boomers shopped Temu more frequently and spent more than younger shoppers in 2023, according to research firm Attain as reported by Bloomberg. Consumers ages 59 and older were also the most loyal, placing about six orders over 12 months, twice as many as Gen Z consumers ages 18 to 26.
The lesson: Baby boomers can be engaged via social media, but you have to know where to find them.
This was originally featured in the Retail Daily newsletter. For more retail insights, statistics, and trends, subscribe here.
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