Study Highlights Generational Differences in Shopping

Best Friends Hanging Out at Shopping Mall

Is Gen-Z in a Class by Itself?

Who is the target customer for your store by generation? The US population is usually broken down into “The Greatest Generation” (born before 1946), “Baby Boomers” (born 1946-1964), “Gen-X” (1965-1980), Millenials (1981-1996) and “Gen-Z” (1997-2012). A recent study by Whop shows how different Gen-Z shoppers are. Or are they?

Whop is a marketplace for internet products serving entreprenuers who want to sell online. Their study looked at generational differences in shopping habits and declares Gen-Z to be unlike any other group.

“Our survey shows that Gen-Z is unlike any other generation out there. They represent a vast — and growing — portion of purchasing power,” says Cameron Zoub, co-founder at Whop, “but they’re also unique in their spending habits, their aspirations and goals, and how they consume digital content.”

Tech Is Key

Some of the biggest differences in the generations have to do with where they spend time online. Gen-Z prefers Tik Tok and Instagram, with Facebook a distant third, whereas as the generations get older, Facebook is predominant. It should be pointed out that Gen-Z is the only generation that had social media when they were growing up. So the group your store targets should determine what social platform you focus on for advertising and promotion. The rise of also happened during the formative years of Gen-Z.

Speaking of, there were differences in online shopping platforms preferred. For Gen-Z, was first, followed by, then, but the older the generation, the greater the preference for, so for Baby Boomers that order is reversed.

“Influencers?” Not So Much

One surprising data point from the survey was that, while one would expect “Influencers” to be important to Gen-Z, less than 20% of Gen-Zers said Influencers “influenced” their purchasing decisions, and that was only for those making $100,000 per year or more.

And continuing the theme of income levels, the study asked whether the respondents would rather make $200,000 per year working for a company or $100,000 as an entreprenuer. 61% of Gen-Zers preferred working for a company with a higher salary to owning their own business, whereas 54% of Gen-Xers said they’d prefer to be their own bosses. Though the study doesn’t say, it’s easy to see that Gen-Xers may have spent more time in a corporate job and the entreprenuerial bug would have had more time to bite.

What to do When You Win the Lottery

Survey respondents were asked what they would do with the money should they receive a $50,000 windfall. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised that Gen-Z is less likely than other generations to say they would invest for retirement and more likely to invest in high-risk options like crypto-currency or collectibles. Just 15% of Gen-Z said they would invest in a 401K or IRA compared to 26% of Gen-X, but logic suggests those numbers will probably change as Gen-Zers get older.