Gen Z Fastest-Growing E-Commerce Group, Wary Of Security

Everyone knows the online shoppers most fearful about cyber security are … older, right? Maybe your mom, or great-Uncle Earl? Nope. New research from GfK reports that Gen Z, the youngest e-commerce group, is more nervous than other generations about e-commerce. But these young sprouts, aged 18 to 26, still represents the only growth spot in an otherwise static universe of omnichannel shoppers.

About a third of Gen Z shoppers cited security fears, up from 26% last year. “That was a little surprising to us,” says Joe Beier, EVP on GfK’s Shopper and Retail Strategy team. “Typically, we’ve seen those concerns higher in older shoppers, who have more life experience with things going wrong. My speculation is that even though Gen Z shoppers are the least likely to have been exposed to a data breach, they are having their eyes opened about the risk.”



More predictably, what Gen Z dreads most about online shopping is the same thing everybody else hates: Paying for shipping. It’s named as the No. 1 reason for avoiding e-commerce by 50% of all shoppers, and 51% of Gen Z. (The findings are from GfK’s latest FutureBuy research, which covers 16 product categories in 20 countries.)

Beier tells Marketing Daily he was struck “by the passion around the cost-of-delivery issue this year.” While consumers are probably aware they are paying for shipping one way or another, such as with membership fee like Amazon Prime, “we were surprised at the depth of the reaction. It’s a big barrier, and it has big implications.” He says the aversion to shipping charges doesn’t seem tied to a person’s economic situation. “It’s a more philosophical, knee-jerk, ‘I just don’t wanna pay for that’ kind of thing.”

The Westport, Conn.-based market research company also says that Gen Z is by far the most fluid of omnichannel surfers, with 46% saying they’ve researched an item on their phone and then purchased it in a store, up five percentage points from last year’s survey, and significantly higher than every other group. And a third researched a product in a store, then bought it online, up from 24% last year. Again, that is considerably higher than all other groups.

The study also finds that Gen Z is about eight times more mobile than Baby Boomers. And of all four cohorts studies—Gen Z, Gen Y, Gen X and Boomers—Gen Z is by far the most likely to say they like it when a website keeps tracks of visits and makes product recommendations accordingly—60% for Gen Z, versus 44% for Gen Y, 41% for Gen X and 26% for Baby Boomers.

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