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Digital Marketing: Get to know and understand Gen Z online shopping

Gen Z shopping trends are increasingly becoming important for economic growth. According to a study, Gen Z, or individuals born in the mid-90s, will make up a quarter of APAC’s population by 2025. Other names for this group include Generation Z, Centennials, GenEdge, Homelanders, iGen, and Zoomers. 

Examining Gen Z online shopping trends becomes necessary as the Gen Z influence on brands will soon become the future of retail. With that said, marketers need to adjust to effectively connect with this demographic. However, Gen Z proves to be much different from older generations since they are the first to grow up fully immersed in the digital world. 

To help digital marketers, here are five trends that map the shopping profile and habits of Gen Z consumers. Additionally, below are some tips that digital marketers can use to adapt their strategies to this new generation.


person shopping online using smartphone

Gen Z shopping trends and digital marketing implications 

Gen Z shopping trend number one: Shopping online through smartphones 

According to the study by Dentsu Aegis Network and Econsultancy, 86% of centennials use smartphones to shop online. In comparison, 51% of centennials use laptops while 22% use desktops.

Gen Z shoppers see great value in online shopping, as it allows them to shortlist products and review options to make an informed decision. Additionally, they are more comfortable with mobile payments since they prefer the convenience and security of digital wallets.

What this means for digital marketers: With mobile as the main access point, centennials will expect online shopping experiences that are as easy to use as their favorite mobile apps

When reaching out to potential Gen Z customers, digital marketers must focus on mobile-friendly advertising. Marketers should also optimize desktop sites and emphasize ease of discovery on their search platform. Offering payment options through different digital wallet providers also enables customers to choose the mode of payment that best fits their needs.

Gen Z shopping trend number two: Browsing social media influencers and videos 

Centennials view social media as a legitimate platform for online shopping. In the Philippines, social media is the second choice of centennials next to branded online stores (i.e., Lazada). TikTok is a particularly popular platform, with centennials making up 60% of its user base.

Gen Z shoppers also rely on social media for information and tend to trust user-generated content more than traditional advertising. Inspiring the Gen Z lifestyle are social media influencers or content creators who provide tips on a range of topics such as healthy living, workout routines, and financial management.

With 1,000 to 10,000 followers on social media, nano influencers may not have extensive reach, but they are credible for their loyal followers. TikTok videos of nano influencers are particularly popular among centennials since these creative videos present a level of authenticity that brings a strong impact on centennial shopping habits

What this means for digital marketers: Digital marketers need to focus on producing authentic and engaging content. This involves partnering with social media influencers with a sincere interest in their products and services.

In particular, short and entertaining videos like those on TikTok dominate the social media space. To create effective short-form content, it’s important to talk with your audience (not at them) and create entertainment instead of advertisements. More importantly, keep messages and partnerships sincere and authentic to be relatable to Gen Z consumers.

woman inserting coin inside piggy bank

Gen Z shopping trend number three: Exercising caution before purchasing 

Centennials grew up during a period of economic uncertainty. In the Philippines, the financial access of Filipino Gen Z leads them to exercise caution and prefer saving over spending. Centennial online shopping reflects this practical perspective, with young consumers taking great care to ensure quality before making a purchase.

To do this, centennials take time to examine prices and compare different brands. Researching customer reviews is also essential. They prefer to check online reviews and may rethink their decision if there is a lack of positive reviews that support their potential purchase.

What this means for digital marketers: The top online information sources of Gen Z shoppers are written reviews, brand websites, video reviews, and search engines. When marketing products or services on these platforms, it’s important to provide sufficient details.

Highlight rich content that features the user experience and product craftsmanship. It’s also crucial to spotlight reviews from satisfied customers and promptly address negative reviews.

Gen Z shopping trend number four: Valuing inclusivity and sustainability 

Because they have grown up amidst crises, centennials can exhibit a strong sense of social responsibility. They consider sustainable initiatives and approach politics with a healthy dose of skepticism. Centennials are also the most diverse generation yet, and they value brands that embody fair representation.

In the Dentsu Aegis Network and Econsultancy report, 82% of centennials shared that they prefer ethical or sustainable brands, while 70% prefer local brands.

What this means for digital marketers: Digital marketers can connect with centennials’ appreciation for brands that align with their values.

This includes emphasizing social responsibility and authenticity in marketing communication. It’s also vital to ensure their messaging is both inclusive and diverse to effectively resonate with centennials.

woman buying clothes in store

Gen Z shopping trend number five: Exploring between online and offline options 

Finally, the Dentsu Aegis Network and Econsultancy report reveals an interesting consumer behavior of Gen Z in Asia: centennials move between online and offline platforms as they review options. Southeast Asia centennials are not “fully digital,” with 47% frequently browsing products in-store before purchasing online, to get a better idea of the physical qualities of the product, such as color, size, texture or fit.On the other hand, 66% frequently browse online before purchasing in-store. This means that centennial shopping habits are practiced through several channels. 

What this means for digital marketers: Digital marketers need to interact with Gen Z shoppers at all stages of their customer journey. Having a single point of contact isn’t enough. Digital marketers must closely coordinate with physical stores to create a consistent customer experience.

Moreover, several businesses still focus on top-funnel goals through mass-targeted campaigns, social content, and branded entertainment. To ensure lead conversion of audiences, digital marketers can also review their: 

  • Website – Sites must be responsive and optimized
  • Service Customer service systems need to be ready for queries and concerns
  • CRM Methodologies collecting customer data and segmenting users need to be assessed

Gen Z online shopping is the future of digital marketing 

Digital marketing is continuously evolving, and centennials represent a distinct demographic with unique characteristics.

With a tailored approach, digital marketers can forge authentic connections while enhancing businesses. By incorporating these five Gen Z online shopping trends, marketing strategies can appeal to this increasingly vital demographic.

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