Generation Z Online Shopping

November 22, 2020

By Irine Le

The online shopping landscape for Generation Z has fundamentally changed in the last couple of years, due to the rise of social media and the focus on more sustainable fashion choices. 

In recent years, Generation Z—ranging in age from teens to young adults in their 20s, has started to denounce the fast-fashion industry due to its harmful environmental implications. In 2019, Forbes found that 62% of Gen-Zers who were entering the workforce that year preferred to shop from sustainable brands. 

Many sustainable brands like Everlane, United by Blue, Reformation, and Outdoor Voices are transparent with their shoppers on their clothing design processes. Often, these sites will list the amount of water, carbon, and energy that’s saved when designing their clothes to ensure maximum sustainability. However, these sustainability-focused brands can often be a lot pricier than fast fashion. 

Thrifting has been viewed as a good way to reduce pollution and your carbon footprint, all while still keeping up with trends. A shift away from fast-fashion brands in favor of more ethical and sustainable fashion choices has led to the growth and success of many online reselling apps: Depop, Poshmark, Vinted, thredUP, and more. 

Depop, a London-based shopping app targeted toward Gen Z and millennials, is a worldwide success. The app allows users to list and sell their clothes, interact with other users, and see what brands and clothing trends are popular. As of late 2019, Depop has over 15 million users across 147 countries. 

Online thrifting is often very user-friendly. Depending on the shop, buying multiple pieces can earn you free shipping on the order, and you can message shop owners about curating bundles. One of the newest trends on Depop has been “personalized style bundles,” which involves communicating with a shop owner on what your targeted “look” is and the amount of items you’d like in your bundle. From there, the shop owner will curate a complete outfit, usually including accessories. This type of interaction gives a much more unique and personal buying experience, which is one way thrifting apps like Depop and Poshmark set themselves apart from large, mainstream clothing corporations. 

In the last year, Instagram has included many new features that allow a faster, more direct shopping experience right on the app. On certain shops’ Instagrams, a link to the product will be tagged in the picture of the product itself. This allows users to simply click the tag and in seconds, have the company’s website loaded on their phones. 

There are many factors that affect how Generation Z has approached online shopping in recent years. Ranging from efforts to be more sustainable, to different ways brands market themselves on social media, it’s no secret that Generation Z is an ethically-focused and progressive cohort that stays on top of trends online. 

Adolescent Content, a global marketing agency run by Gen Z for Gen Z, can help tailor your marketing strategies to attract your target consumers.