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Snapchat: The Gateway To Gen Z

Along with waiting for the next Shawn Mendes song to come out or watching the latest vlog from Connor Franta, Generation Z not only cares about keeping its Snapchat streak alive, but also uses this social platform as a way to connect with brands.

One in five (21%) Gen Zers finds Snapchat influential in their purchase decisions, twice as many as Millennials, our research has found. In addition, this young demographic favors Snapchat and Instagram more than all other generations by large margins. Because Gen Z grew up in a time when social platforms were booming, they quickly became digital natives, and brands took advantage of this efficient way of communicating with them. On the other hand, their older counterparts were discovering how to communicate with this newfound technology, while still enjoying engaging with brands in more traditional ways, such as via email.

On average, we found, Gen Z bounces among five different social channels a day, but is active on Snapchat a whopping 11 times a day. However, like their Millennial counterparts, Gen Z expects marketers to understand their preferences and needs regardless of channel or device.

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The channel preference gap is widening

Gen Z wants authentic brand experiences across all channels and devices — and they want these experiences to be personalized. In fact, nearly half of Gen Zers are influenced by personalized content when it comes to purchasing as a result of marketing emails. While it’s easy for brands to lump generations together when targeting consumers on social platforms, recognizing what makes Gen Z different will allow brands to stand out against all of the clutter.

At 46%, this youngest generation values email least out of all generations when researching a purchase. In fact, they rank both mobile apps and display advertising as more important (both at 56%), and unsurprisingly, more than 80% say social media influences their shopping decision.

Of course, social media’s influence extends beyond Gen Z — more than half of all consumers (57%) say social media influences their shopping. Moreover, Facebook still reigns supreme, with 44% of all consumers citing the platform as important to their purchase decisions. 

However, breaking it down, social media does appear to have less influence on older generations. While more than 80% of Gen Z and 74% of Millennials say social media influences their shopping, only 58% of Generation X and 41% of Baby Boomers say the same. 

Snapchat usage among Gen X and Baby Boomers is almost nonexistent, which brands should keep in mind when targeting consumers on the platform. And channels such as Pinterest — which plays a significant role across generations — should also be considered as they can add value to a brand’s visual strategy.

Holiday habits

Contrary to the popular belief that brick-and-mortar is in trouble and that younger generations are only interested in shopping with Amazon, Gen Z and Millennials responded similarly to older generations about the importance of the in-store experience. A third of Gen Zers actually prefer to shop at non-Amazon retailers because they enjoy the in-store experience more than any other generation. In fact, the two youngest generations value the in-store experience the most, citing it as one of the top factors that drives brand loyalty, compared to just 11% of Baby Boomers who say the same.

Interestingly, Gen Z reports shopping in-store during the holidays more than any other generation — at 45% — and is twice as likely as Gen X to refer to mobile websites when doing so. And not surprisingly, Gen Zers are more likely to find social media influential during the holidays, more so than any other generation.

So Snapchat will not be taking a back burner for future holidays to come, while Gen Zers are engaging with more channels. And being that the holiday preferences for the youngest generation are widely cross-channel, they aren’t particularly loyal to one form of communication during the busy shopping season.

While Snapchat certainly resonates with the youngest generation of buyers, in order to fully capture the attention of Gen Z, marketers still need to personalize and play into their shopping habits across the board. Gen Zers like to shop in-store, but they also want brands to communicate with them across channels, with an emphasis on Snapchat and Instagram. If brands want to truly make an impact on consumers under age 21, a cross-channel, personalized experience will go a long way.

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