Gen Z prefers people over marketers for product information

Older generations rely more heavily on family, friends, and TV ads to learn about new products. Personal recommendations are the most powerful purchase drivers for Gen Z as well, but social media—which includes ads, videos, and online influencers—is increasingly important to product discovery.

  • Gen Z taps a wider array of online and offline sources—including ratings and reviews, social media, online influencers, and in-person experiences.
  • Gen Z makes little distinction between online, mobile, and offline sources and zigzags effortlessly among them to find information.
  • In June 2021, half of US Gen Z internet users agreed that social networks were important information sources for shopping decisions.
  • In another June 2021 survey, 65% of Gen Z adult respondents said friend and family recommendations were the two most trusted sources for product recommendations.

Social media plays a central role in how Gen Z discovers products and buys, with many following brands on social media and identifying influencers as another important source of guidance.

  • Turning to social media to research a product or brand is a common behavior for Gen Z adults (18 to 24) after hearing about a new brand or product, and nearly half of survey respondents in July 2021 said they will use social media to purchase.
  • Gen Zers cited YouTube as a popular social choice for researching products, followed by Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok.
  • More than older cohorts, Gen Zers are likely to engage with brands through social media. A higher percentage of Gen Zers follow brands on social media, are more likely to purchase from a brand with a strong social media presence, and more have purchased a product because of an influencer.
  • When asked which products they are most likely to buy due to social media, Gen Zers’ top-cited category was clothing, followed by beauty/skincare products and technology.

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