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Just The Numbers: Gen Z Shopping Behavior

Published June 22, 2023
Published June 22, 2023
Phạm Nhật via Unsplash

Gen Z is the first truly digitally native generation, but they have played a vital role in the revival of brick-and-mortar retail, highlighting the importance of gathering offline. Nearly the same share of respondents who shop at brick-and-mortar stores (97%) also shop online (95%).

“Gen Z is an increasingly important demographic as more of them graduate from school, transition to their first full-time job, and mature into more spending power,” ICSC President and CEO Tom McGee said in a statement. “Our study found that many of the stereotypes and preconceived notions attached to this cohort are unfounded, however, their habits will influence retail strategy, marketplace makeup and broader economic trends for years to come.”

As members of Gen Z (16- to 26-year-olds) are coming of age, this emerging group of consumers exhibit distinctive and perhaps surprising shopping habits. ICSC’s 2023 survey of Gen Z consumers latest report aims to uncover the shopping habits and behaviors.

Payment Method Usually Used to Make a Purchase

  • 45% debit cards 
  • 21% cash 
  • 17% credit cards 
  • 14% mobile payment 
  • 3% buy now, pay later

Gen Z Most Frequently Shop at

  • 48% discount and off-price retailers 
  • 25% dollar and variety stores
  • 24% specialty retailers 
  • 22% fast fashion retailers 
  • 21% department stores
  • 13% thrift and second-hand stores
  • 11% peer to peer
  • 11% Facebook marketplace
  • 9% luxury retail

Offline versus Online Shopping

  • 30% shop in-store to get products immediate
  • 28% shop in-store to see, touch, and try products
  • 30% shop online for convenience
  • 20% shop online to find better prices and deals

Real Influence of Purchase

  1. Family member/friends 
  2. Reviews on the product website 
  3. Online review websites, forums, blogs
  4. Brand/company employees, store associates, or seeing products in-store
  5. Social media/influencers

Gen Z Value Speed, Convenience, and Efficacy While Shopping

  • 46% quick and easy checkout
  • 45% fast shipping 
  • 39% being able to get what you want in-store immediately 
  • 31% free returns
  • 27% quick/helpful customer service, enough employees
  • 23% ability to accurately check stock in-store
  • 23% ability to buy online and pickup in-store

Gen Z Wants Brands to Support

  • 53% mental health
  • 47% the environment, climate change, and sustainability
  • 47% racial and gender equality 
  • 42% ethical labor practices 
  • 26% LGBTQ+ rights 
  • 20% civic engagement, political action 

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