Run the Numbers: Millennial and Gen Z Shoppers Trust Social Media More Than Family and Friends

Run the Numbers unpacks the data that’s driving top retail trends in the industry.

Shoppers have long relied on trusted friends and family members to influence their purchases. But in the digital age, the impact of their word-of-mouth recommendations has significantly evolved, changing the ways businesses advertise to consumers, particularly to tech-savvy millennials and Generation Zers.

In a new study, “buy now, pay later” firm Afterpay found that 92% of millennials and 97% of Gen Zers look at social media as a top source to help drive a purchase. That’s even more than the 80% of millennials and 78% of Gen Zers that trust their own family and friends. Coming in at third place are celebrities and influencers, who are trusted by 51% of millennials and 64% of Gen Zers.

Although both millennials and Gen Zers are mostly digitally native consumers, they have different shopping habits and outlooks. In the report, the firm found that Gen Z outpaces millennials when it comes to shopping with a price tag between $100 and $500.

The younger demographic also trumps millennials in shopping on the go: A respective 55% and 18% of Gen Zers use their mobile devices or head to stores to make their purchases, compared with 49% and 14% for millennials. On the other hand, millennials tend to do more than a third of their shopping on their computers (37% versus Gen Z’s 27%).

According to Afterpay, millennials and Gen Zers together make up more than 60% of the global population. Looking at data from more than 2 million customers on its site over the past three months, it saw that sportswear giants Adidas and Nike as well as heritage brand Calvin Klein were among the top fashion brands favored by its shoppers. In New York and Los Angeles specifically, the most-purchased labels included Yeezy, Air Jordan and Off-White — signaling the ongoing strength of the fashion sneaker.

“Though [streetwear] may be slowly disappearing from fashion runways, customers are as interested as ever in [it],” the firm wrote in its report. “We predict that will only continue into the next season and beyond.”

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