Clock icon 24 min read Calendar icon Jun 27, 2023

Inside The Gen Z Mind: Decoding the Purchase Habits of Gen Z


Snipp conducted "Inside the Gen Z Mind" survey with the goal of better understanding the American “Gen Z” or “Zoomer” generation’s consumer behaviors and preferences. In this survey, we delve into Gen Z consumer trends to better understand their unique approach to buying and explore the factors that influence their purchasing decisions. See also our related Gen Z consumer trends article: “How Gen Z Navigates the Information Age”.

Findings - Online vs. In-store Purchasing 

Generation Z exhibits distinct purchasing patterns when it comes to everyday spend items. 

  • Gen Z strongly prefers in-store shopping for food (73.8%), cleaning products (70.4%), and personal care items (54.6%). 
  • In terms of electronics, about 33.4% of Gen Z respondents prefer mostly in-store purchases, while 32.8% lean towards online shopping. 
  • When it comes to apparel, 41% of respondents reported a mix of online and in-store purchases.

Buying preferences of Gen Z

Insights from the survey highlight the significance of food in Gen Z households.   

  • Average monthly spending on food for Gen Z: $760, with $550 (72%) going towards groceries. 
  • Average monthly spending on food for Millennials: $874, with $615 (70%) allocated to groceries. 
  • Both Gen Z and Millennials visit grocery stores three times per week. 
  • 71% of Gen Z respondents prefer making their own choices when selecting produce, meat, and seafood during in-store grocery shopping. 
  • 56% of Gen Z respondents value the opportunity to discover new products while shopping in-store. 
  • 41% of Gen Z respondents enjoy the overall experience provided by in-store retailers. 

Findings - Spending by Category 

The survey delved into the spending habits of Generation Z, shedding light on their expenditure across various categories.  

Spending by Category : Gen Z Trends

Gen Z's preference for in-store purchases of grocery, cleaning, and health and beauty items was evident in Online vs. In-store Purchasing findings. Marketers to Gen Z must develop strategies that drive store traffic and ensure effective merchandising. Retailers investing in brands with sustainable packaging, local and healthier ingredients, and showcasing authenticity and transparency can align with Gen Z's values and increase market share. Moreover, enhancing a retailer's digital presence through mobile apps, product reviews, and augmented reality can engage Gen Z and drive share. 

Findings - Shopping Frequency 

More than half of Gen Z individuals are frequent buyers, actively engaging in purchasing activities. In fact, 54.6% of Gen Z respondents indicated that they make purchases either online or in-store between 2-5 times per week. 

Shopping Frequency: Gen Z trends

Zoomers actively integrate spending into their daily lives, both in-store and online, utilizing social media and branded apps for direct purchases. 

  • 14-18 year-olds show a higher likelihood of holiday shopping at malls compared to other age groups. 
  • 25% of 14-18 year-olds indicate they are very likely to visit malls for holiday shopping, while 38% consider themselves somewhat likely to do so. 

Despite malls being seen as outdated in retailing, they could serve as a favorable setting for Gen Z to reconnect with friends, socialize, and shop post-lockdown. Targeted promotions aimed at bringing Zoomers into physical stores could be an effective tactic for engaging this generation. 

Findings - Out of Stock Purchasing 

Gen Z consumers exhibit surprising levels of loyalty, as revealed in our recent survey, "Inflation and the Ever Evolving Shopper Dec 2022." When faced with out-of-stock situations, Gen Z individuals are less likely to choose alternative items from different brands at significantly lower rates. Instead, they prefer to wait until the brand they prefer is back in stock, showcasing their loyalty to their preferred brands. 

Out of Stock Purchasing behaviour: Gen Z Trends

Insights - 

  • Gen Z consumers are known for being well-informed and sometimes perceived as fickle shoppers, but they can be surprisingly loyal when they find brands that offer value. 
  • The data reinforces the notion that Gen Z values a combination of quality products and reasonable prices, as demonstrated in the previous question. 
  • Acquiring new customers is generally more costly than retaining existing ones, making it important for brands targeting Gen Z to focus on customer retention strategies. 
  • By prioritizing customer retention, brands can expect higher shares at checkout as Gen Z consumers reward brands that they feel provide value. 

Findings - Offer and Deal Impact on Purchasing 

Deals play a crucial role in driving sales, as highlighted by our survey findings. Nearly half (49.8%) of the respondents stated that they would be more inclined to make a purchase from their favorite retailer or brand compared to a competitor if they were presented with a deal. This emphasizes the significant impact that attractive offers and promotions can have on consumer behavior and their purchasing decisions. 

Offer and Deal Type Preferences : Gen Z trends

Gen Z's shopping behavior is driven by an "all channels, everywhere, all the time" mindset, empowering them to seek deals and make purchases on their own terms, at their desired price points. To secure Gen Z's loyalty, marketers must provide rewards that align with their distinctive preferences. According to a recent study conducted by YPulse, the top factors that influence the effectiveness of a rewards program for Gen Z include: 

  • Getting specific discount codes and coupons (62%) 
  • Earning points that I can use for other things (61%) 
  • Getting a flat discount on all purchases (60%) 
  • Getting free stuff (58%).

Also, 31% of young people said they would stay loyal to a brand that gives them free things. 

Findings - Offer and Deal Type Preferences 

Gen Z prioritizes simplicity and value when it comes to deals and offers. 

  • Buy one, get one free (BOGO) is the most favored type of offer among Gen Z, chosen by 58.2% of respondents. 
  • Coupons are also popular among Gen Z, with 37.6% expressing their preference for this type of offer. 
  • Loyalty Points are favored by 28.4% of Gen Z respondents. 

These findings highlight the significance of offering straightforward and appealing deals that cater to Gen Z's desire for convenience and cost-effectiveness. 

Offer and Deal Type Preferences : Gen Z trends

  • Deals and sales play a significant role in expediting Gen Z's path to purchase. 
  • According to a Holiday 2022 study by SimplicityDX, 28% of Gen Z respondents consider discounts and promo codes to be a key driver of their purchase decisions. 
  • 26% of Gen Z shoppers are more influenced by the overall shopping experience, while 15% pay more attention to social media views and likes. 
  • Marketers should continue collecting email data from Gen Z consumers as it remains valuable. 
  • Investing in Consumer Engagement Platforms with SMS capabilities can help marketers engage with Gen Z shoppers, bringing them closer to the point of purchase and driving conversions. 

For more insights and information, refer to our 2023 Shopper Marketing Technology Landscape, which highlights Consumer Engagement Platform vendors and other tech innovators. 

Findings – Brand Loyalty among Gen Z 

  • Nike was the most popular brand among the respondents, representing 13% of all mentions. 
  • Walmart received 5% of the mentions, followed by Amazon, Shein, and Apple, each with 4%.
  • Adidas received 3% of the mentions, while Target, Jordan, Aerie, and Cerave each received 2%. 
  • Other mentioned brands included e.l.f. Cosmetics, Sony, Ulta, Samsung, and Starbucks. 
  • Various grocery retailers such as HEB, Giant, Kroger, Trader Joe's, Food Lion, Costco, BJ's, and Aldi were also mentioned. 
  • CPG brands like Kellogg's, Coca-Cola, Hershey's, Doritos, Cheetos, Kraft, Amy's Kitchen, Totino's, Hidden Valley, Monster Energy, Kroger's Simple Truth, and Walmart's Great Value private label brand were mentioned. 
  • Health and beauty brands included Cerave (with the highest mentions at 2%), e.l.f. Cosmetics (1%), Fenty Beauty, Neutrogena, Maybelline, Burt's Bees, Cetaphil, Ponds, Dove, L'Oreal, Rare Beauty, Clinique, Aveeno, as well as beauty retailers Ulta, Bath & Body Works, and Sephora. 

Brand Loyalty among Gen Z : Trends


In conclusion, this survey provided valuable insights into Gen Z consumer and retail trends, including the shopping preferences and brand loyalty of Gen Z consumers. Their shopping habits, preferences, and brand loyalty are shaped by convenience, cost-effectiveness, and value. By understanding and responding to their needs, marketers can foster strong connections with this evolving demographic and secure a higher share at checkout. The insights provided in this survey can serve as a valuable guide for brands and retailers seeking to engage effectively with Gen Z consumers in today's competitive marketplace. 

Inside the Gen Z Mind

The survey results reveal new insights into the Gen Z psyche that will impact how you approach marketing to remain relevant. So read on to learn more! Or Download the full report here.