Teens, Young Adults Haven't Embraced Mcommerce Yet

Author: Krista Garcia

August 23, 2018

Gen Z are still coming into full adulthood--the oldest are around 20 by most definitions--but that's not stopping retailers from trying to get a handle on their preferences and behaviors.

More are focusing on millennials, but some 65% of retailers said they plan to increase marketing spend targeting Gen Z this year. 

One thing we do know is that this truly digital native generation are not junior millennials. In many ways their behavior is more analog, but it's not clear yet if this ambivalence toward digital is because it's always been a part of their lives or if it's just a matter of life stage and  limited financial means. 

Older teens and young adults aren't as reliant on mobile as you might think. According to a UNiDAYS and Ad Age joint survey of college students in the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand, only 10% watch streaming TV on mobile devices. These consumers aren't avid users of transactional mcommerce either.

When asked which shopping-related activities they conducted via smartphone, the leading answer was browsing (64%). A majority (59%) performed price comparisons, read product reviews (58%) and checked product availability (52%) while 46% looked for store locations. 

As far as digital buying was concerned, 22% preferred using a mobile website and 15% a mobile app. Most, however, preferred making purchases on a desktop or laptop (60%). Only 3% used tablets. 

That close to half of Gen Z said they used mobile to look up store locations is telling. A survey by IBM Institute of Business Value and the National Retail Federation of Gen Z (ages 13-21) worldwide found that 3x as many shop in-store most of the time compared to online (66% vs. 22%) and 98% shopped in-store at least some of the time. More than half (52%) had never used a mobile app to buy something.