Gen Z shoppers still prefer websites to apps, study finds

Gen Z consumers prefer to buy from businesses that offer both online and in-store experiences, according to a WP Engine study.

Gen Z shoppers, born between 1996-2010, said they prefer businesses to have an online presence and a physical storefront and about 62 per cent have said an online-only company is not less trustworthy than a solely brick-and-mortar business.

The study, which explores three key aspects of Gen Z’s relationship with digital: Being Online, Buying Online and Building Online, also indicates that about 63 per cent of Gen Z consumers are more likely to buy from a company that contributes to social causes while, conversely, 54 per cent of Baby Boomers said it didn’t matter.

“Gen Z is well on its way to becoming the largest generation of consumers by the year 2020,” said Mark Randall, Australia/New Zealand country manager at WP Engine.

“This will have profound implications for marketers and brands who, to effectively engage Gen Z, must embrace new technologies, experiment with new forms of communication, and internalize the nuances in how Gen Z seamlessly blends the analog and digital worlds.”

The study shows that more than half, 55 per cent, of Gen Z consumers are dependent on the internet and can’t comfortably go more than four hours without it.

But, despite Gen Z’s eagerness to access the web using new methods and different devices, they still show a clear preference for a company’s website over a mobile app when making purchases, the survey shows. This held true across all generations, with Baby Boomers leading at 89 per cent, followed by Gen X (87 per cent), Millennials (80 per cent), and Gen Z (75 per cent).

About 70 per cent of Gen Z consumers worry that their online actions, including social media posts and past purchases, will affect job offers and 49 per cent believe their online reputation will determine their dating options. WP Engine said perhaps that’s why Gen Z is fiercely committed to authenticity when considering the brands they use and buy.

According to the study, 75 per cent of Gen Z shoppers trust a company more if the images they use are not photoshopped and 85 per cent trust a company more if they use actual customers in their ads.

“Gen Zers are empowered, connected, practical, empathetic self-starters who want to stand out and make a difference in the world,” said Jason Dorsey, president at The Center for Generational Kinetics.

“They merge the human and digital experiences – it is all one combined reality for them. They are fuelled by technologyengagement and value uniqueness, authenticity, creativity, shareability and purpose. And they look for that from the world around them.”

The Center for Generational Kinetics was commissioned by WP Engine to conduct the study.

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