- Via Flickr
Meet Generation Z.
They’re younger and cooler than you. They also use Snapchat better than you. The University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business called this generation “millennials on steroids.”
Generation Z consists of those born between 1996 and 2010.
Here’s where they’re shopping.
“Stuff, not experiences”
Something that set millennials apart is that they prefer to spend money on experiences rather than on stuff. An EventBrite study detailed that that’s what they want more than anything.
“Similarly, that generation cares more about access to products and services rather than ownership of them. Note the popularity of Airbnb, the lodging company, Zipcar, the car-sharing company, and Bixi and Hubway, the public-bike-sharing systems in Montreal and Boston respectively, among this generation,” according to a UPenn Wharton blog post.
Generation Z cares about owning. “This generation is in to stuff,” Keith Niedermeier, director of Wharton’s undergraduate marketing program, said.
And when they shop, they prefer to shop online
Teens prefer to shop online versus in stores, according to Piper Jaffray’s semiannual report on teen spending.
But there’s a catch: They prefer sites that have actual, physical stores versus retailers that operate on a strictly ecommerce basis.
Additionally, they shop on their smart phones, Generation Z expert Nancy Nessel explained to Business Insider. But those who do shop in stores, she explained, this generation likes to interact with the brands on their social-media channels for research before purchasing items in physical stores.
Places that are authentic and with social causes
“They want to see if the brand is authentic and is worthy of their time, money, and values,” Nessel explained to Business Insider. “They will only wear clothing that aligns with their values, has a social cause, and represents who they really are.”
- Shop Jeen
Haven’t seen Shop Jeen? It’s an excellent representation of all things Gen Z: It’s irreverent, themed around the digital era, and knows no boundaries. (If you’re not in the target demographic, prepare to be confounded.) It’s also founded by millennial Erin Yogasundram.
The New York Times’ Alex Williams pointed to Shop Jeen as an example of the over-the-top and quirky style that Gen Z loves.
Its lack of boundaries exemplifies a core characteristic of what makes Gen Z unique.
“This is a generation that doesn’t see boundaries. Gender doesn’t mean what it used to,” Barbara Kahn, marketing professor and director of the Wharton’s Jay H. Baker Retailing Center said to Wharton’s blog. “This generation is coming-of-age in the era of Caitlin [sic] Jenner. They will likely be more open-minded as a result.”
- Joshua Kirby/flickr
According to Piper Jaffray’s study, teens prefer MAC makeup when it comes to cosmetics. It makes sense; MAC is known for its bright hues.
Teens are not into Coach handbags – Michael Kors is the handbag of choice, according to the Piper Jaffray study.
- Wikimedia Commons
Kate Spade is another slightly more luxurious store that Gen Z loves. Nessel said this brand is popular among teen girls, in part because of its recent branded videos featuring Anna Kendrick.
Places with good Yelp reviews
- Thomson Reuters
According to Wharton’s post, Gen Y pays close attention to Yelp and TripAdvisor reviewers when it comes to making decisions. Wharton called this “crowdsourcing.”
- Thomson Reuters
Nike doesn’t discriminate when it comes to age. The biggest apparel retailer in the US is Gen Z’s favorite apparel brand by a longshot – 24% of teens consider it the top brand, according to Piper Jaffray’s survey. Forever 21 came behind, but with only 8% of teens citing it as their favorite brand.
Traditional mall stores
- Aerie/American Eagle
According to the survey, teens still love Forever 21, American Eagle, Ralph Lauren, Victoria’s Secret, Urban Outfitters, and Hollister. Abercrombie & Fitch, once a top teen brand, didn’t crack the top 10.
It’s no secret teens prefer to shop online. But where is their favorite place to shop online? Amazon, according to the survey. Thirty-six percent of the teens surveyed said Amazon was their favorite place to shop online; Nike came in second place with 8%.
Places that sell activewear
- Lululemon on Facebook
Teens prefer stores that sell activewear – like Lululemon and Nike – compared to denim, once a fashion staple, according to the survey.
Ivivva, in particular
- Ivivva on Facebook
Ivivva is Lululemon’s younger sister brand. It’s “appealing because it has a meaning, a movement you want to be a part of,” Nessel explained. “Buying and wearing [the clothes] makes you feel a part of their ‘community for active girls.”
This, Nessel explained, is “appealing because [the brand] supports girl power.”
- Chubbies on Facebook
Chubbies might not have a social cause to it, but the preppy retailer known for selling shorter shorts for men has a strong image, Nessel explains. Their frat-boy mentality and the catchphrase “sky’s out, thighs out” sets the brand apart.
Here’s where they’re not shopping …
Teens – and Gen Z in general – will stay away from massive retailers.
“These stores lack the brands Gen Z wants,” Nessel explained. “Parents will buy clothes for them at these stores, and at Old Navy, but they’ll only wear occasionally. The stores’ brands are very generic and don’t have a positive social cause without negative impressions.”
Perhaps most notably, shopping in these stores takes way too long. “Z needs instant gratification and these larger stores are challenging for Gen Z’s eight-second attention spans,” Nessel explained.
They’re also not shopping at the mall
- REUTERS/Vivek Prakash
“They may take a very quick trip to the mall with [their] parents to get exactly what they want, but Gen Z does not ‘browse’ or let the brand come to them,” Nessel explained. “They find what they want, and get it.”
Further, they “don’t want to waste precious time.” (That’s even more bad news for malls!)
They also don’t like brands that are associated with causes they find to be negative
According to Nessel, Generation Z does not like “people that cause or encourage violence and evil like war, gun violence, or discrimination. They are growing up seeing more than any generation (due to screens) and this makes them more compassionate than previous generations. They are altruistic, compassionate, optimistic, hopeful.”