Gen Z Tops Millennials on Social Media Shopping and Spending

Generation Z consumers are more likely to use Instagram and TikTok to search for products than other generations. They often turn to social media to browse brands before using Google. Their interaction within the social network often leads to a purchase, more so than other age groups. While they buy fewer items, they tend to be of higher value. Their purchases mainly consist of clothing, beauty products, as well as fitness items and consumer electronics.

chart, social media shopping

These are some of the key insights on Gen Z social media usage drawn from “Tracking the Digital Payments Takeover: Monetizing Social Media,” a PYMNTS and Amazon Web Services research collaboration that details how consumers expect their use of digital shopping and payments options to increase in the future.

According to the study, 68% of Gen Z consumers searched for products on social media, and 22% ultimately completed a purchase, the highest shopping rate on social media across all generations. It’s not surprising that Gen Z shoppers were the most inclined to use social media because they find products more attractive there. This trend doesn’t appear to be temporary, as 3 out of 4 Gen Z consumers plan to make purchases on social media, compared to less than half of the overall sample.

Instagram and TikTok are the go-to social networks for browsing and purchasing products. with clothing, apparel and beauty products being the most sought-after. Additionally, the study reveals that over 40% of this generation prefer using Instagram or TikTok over Google to explore brands, as per separate PYMNTS Intelligence research.

chart, social networks

But Instagram and TikTok are not the only social media players capitalizing on social commerce. Social networks not traditionally associated with shopping are also seizing the opportunity by introducing shopping features and partnerships that enable people to buy across all surfaces of their platform. One of them is Pinterest, which is finding resonance among Gen Z users and is recognizing them as a rising force in shopping. During the company’s first investor day in September, Pinterest stated, “Gen Z is an emerging powerhouse on Pinterest, representing our most engaged and fastest-growing audience.”

Gen Z is not only the demographic group that shops the most on social media, but also the one that spends the most on average per item. In each purchase, they buy on average four items, compared to six for millennials, but of higher value. Specifically, they spend $28.5 per item, versus $20.4 for millennials, according to the PYMNTS Intelligence survey.

They are also the most likely to express concern about overspending. Thus, when shopping on social media, they actively seek discounts and promotions and prioritize quick shipping.

As Gen Z consumers, they are the ones who search for more products and spend more time on social networks, find this platform more appealing for making purchases, and anticipate doing so more in the future. Although the shopping ratio is not yet very high, retailers and brands recognize in this generation a potential for growth.