Gen Z and Social Commerce

November 08, 2021

By: Eliza Rudalevige

If there’s one thing I can say about Gen Z, it’s that we love to buy stuff. More specifically, we love to buy stuff online. Gone are the days of hours-long mall trips with high school friends, cramming a group of four into one stuffy fitting room and noshing on greasy food court fare. Well, maybe not completely gone—those kinds of days still have their place. But for our everyday shopping needs, we crave convenience, speed, and a streamlined process to get what we need and desire to our doorsteps as soon as possible.

In recent years, social commerce has become the answer to our prayers. According to one study, 33% of Gen Zers reported that they were persuaded to buy something after seeing it on social media, and more than 20% of Gen Z prefers engaging with brands on social media over any other channel. This makes sense: if we see a product that we’re interested in pop up on Instagram, we don’t even have to go through the hassle of opening up a new browser and looking it up. In many cases, we can simply click on the post and voila—we’re redirected to a virtual purchasing space. This phenomenon, paired with the widespread use of smartphone features such as address auto-fill and Apple Pay, obliterates the roadblocks between buyer and purchase for a process that is faster than ever before. 

This doesn’t mean that Gen Zers are undiscerning about what we buy. Gen Z is a financially savvy generation—half of credit-active Gen Zers have a credit score of 661 or above—and we are only willing to spend our hard-earned money on products we know will be of excellent quality. One approach to garnering social commerce sales is to put real customer reviews front and center on your social media page, à la the skincare brand Starface. After all, 68% of Gen Z says that they read three or more reviews online before buying something for the first time with their own money.

The effectiveness of social commerce strategy has its limits; you can’t just throw out social media ads and partnerships willy-nilly and expect meaningful engagement. Gen Zers spend eight or more hours online per day, but we also have high standards as to where we disburse that time. Be mindful about whom you advertise certain products to, and don’t inundate their timelines with the same images and same products. After seeing the same thing over and over, we’ll either get bored of it or start doubting its quality—if 80 different influencers have the exact same opinion of a product, are those opinions really true? Either way, the possibility of purchase is out the window if you’re not scrupulous with your brand’s social commerce approach. 

There’s still a lot of room for social commerce to grow and serve Gen Z in a way that is beneficial to both the producer and consumer; one way is to consult with Adolescent and our network of creatives to pinpoint a social commerce strategy that will attract the right audience and engagement for your business.