Young And Trigger-Happy: What Drives Millennials And Gen Zers To Buy

Young shoppers considers it a badge of honor to find the best deal -- one of many things email teams should keep in mind when marketing to them, judging by Consumers Unmasked, the first part of a study on attitudes in the U.S., the UK and Germany by software purveyor EPAM. 

Members of the millennial-Gen Z cohort say these are the triggers that drive them to purchase:  

  • Value for money
  • Ethics
  • Rewarding experiences
  • Comfort and security 
  • Social engagement
  • The power of friends. 

The barriers to purchase are: 

  • Trust issues.  
  • Subscriptions cause suspicion 
  • COVID-concerns.   



The dynamics vary in different verticals. Here are the key drivers email marketers should focus on when selling these products and services:


  • Sensory experiences, although replicating them online is not easy.  
  • Curbside pickup, or click and collect.  
  • Continuing takeaway deals and discounts.  


  • Seamless transition between physical and digital, with an emphasis on fun.  
  • Flexible payment options. 
  • Distinctive choices online — in both products and experiences. 


  • Trust is the overriding motivator.  
  • The  brand’s ability to solve vacation challenges.  


  • Subscription that offer fitness without judgment
  • Building niche communities helps brands provide a more holistic experiences. 


  • Superbrands set the benchmark. 
  • Comfort and well being
  • Ease of return, especially for larger items.  
  • Doing good.
  • Ability to bring the physical experience home.  

The council members seem to have similar concerns by country.  

In the U.S., people were excited to return to social gatherings, but “expressed caution, knowing the pandemic is still very much at large.”

UK council members are also “eager to get back into society and spend time with friends and loved ones after prolonged separation.” But they have some anxiety about reopening too soon and perhaps prompting another lockdown. 

And in Germany, consumers sorely missed social interaction and are excited at being able to move freely again. They expressed very little negativity. 

The study concludes, “Services developed at pace are now expected. Innovative partnerships are quickly being seen as standard. Brands have raised the bar on the services they deliver, the experiences they create and the good they do—and their efforts are striking a chord with consumers who are looking for excitement and demanding change.” 

For the first stage of the research, EPAM spoke with its panel of b71 millennial and Gen Z consumers in the U.S., the UK and Germany.. The second part of the research, a survey, a broad spectrum of consumers in the three countries, will be published in October.

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