As the first generation made up entirely of digital natives, Gen Z’s spending and buying habits have the potential to completely change how we look at online shopping. 

With high participation in social media buying and buy-now-pay-later programs, Gen Z’s buying habits are focused on instant gratification and online experiences. 

Read about the latest on Gen Z trends, shopping habits, and how marketers can (and should) pay attention to this important demographic. 

Who Is Gen Z?

First of all, let’s get clear on who Gen Z is: this generation are people born between the years 1997 and 2012. This group is more socially conscious and more digital than any previous generation. They are often less likely to spend money than previous generations, possibly a result of watching their parents struggle through the 2008 recession and then becoming adults during the Covid-19 Pandemic. Gen Z trends are more than just the preferences of a young demographic. As this generation grows up, they represent a substantial segment of buying power and demonstrate changing attitudes toward shopping and consumerism. 

Online Focused 

The pandemic shut-downs furthered Gen Z’s online shopping habits. With endless options (and influencers to showcase them) Gen Z knows they have options, and look for products that suit their individual tastes and needs. 

Plus, they live in an era of easy shopping- you can click directly from social media directly to a product, and get a product delivered to your door in just a few days. Prices are competitive, and they have enough options to be able to get their shopping fix in while in the middle of other social media activities. 

This means plenty of opportunities for social commerce, digital marketing, and online shopping.

The Buy Now Pay Later Phenomenon

One of the biggest plays in the online shopping market for Gen Z has been the buy now, pay later (BNPL) system of purchasing. As many as 55% of Gen Zers will use a BNPL service at some point this year. 

While this does present opportunities for fintech companies like Klarna, it also means Gen Z is susceptible to debt– with the ease of purchase at every retail site, shoppers wind up with numerous payments spread across numerous bills and stores and have trouble keeping up with payments. Even when auto pay is an option, consumers will simply not budget correctly and run out of funds. 

However, BNPL offers an opportunity for Gen Z to purchase on credit while cutting out big banks and credit cards. With BNPL, purchases are paid off quickly, debt doesn’t accumulate into a single source, and interest doesn’t change. For many Gen Z, this can be a safe way to build credit rather than applying to (and getting denied) predatory credit cards and dealing with mounting interest. 

BNPL is one of the most interesting Gen Z trends to watch. As this group's incomes rise, BNPL might be a stepping stone to building credit, making larger purchases, and increasing buying power. 

Social Commerce and the Metaverse

Trends move faster than ever on social media. This is one of the many reasons why influencer marketing is so important - influencers, already tapped into the social media landscape, are poised to respond to changes. Building strong influencer partnerships can help digital marketing companies stay current and up-to-date on what’s happening with their brands. 

As digital natives, Gen Z will also lead the way on digital commerce in the metaverse- as much as 1/3rd of Gen Zrs are open to brands selling products in the metaverse, and 30% state they’d attempt to build their own careers in the metaverse. Gen Z will likely be early adopters of metaverse shopping.


Gen Z is young, hungry for instant gratification, and just starting to make more money - meaning they should be the top target for digital marketers today. Influencer marketing, investing in the metaverse and online shopping experiences, offering BNPL solutions, and keeping an eye on other Gen Z trends should be the top priorities of marketers looking to tap into this growing market of consumers. Contact us to find out how we can help. 

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