Swipe, Shop, Share: The Social Media Shopping Takeover by Gen Z & Millennials

Remember the times when you would stroll into your favourite store, browse, try on, and finally pick something out? Yeah, those were good times. But it’s 2023, and shopping as we know it has taken a digital turn with millennials and Gen Z leading the pack. They’ve been turning screens into shopping malls and getting their retail therapy from the comfort of their homes. Thanks to the social media boom, the “add to cart” button has been busier than Leonardo DiCaprio’s dating life!

Gen Z & Millennials: The Social eCommerce Champions
Online Shopping

You know what they say; the proof is in the pudding! A recent report unveiled that 64% of individuals belonging to Generation Z and Millennials have made purchases through social media platforms in the previous year. On top of that, a massive 88% have utilised social media as a platform to discover new products. Notably, 44% of them also leveraged social media to evaluate and contemplate potential purchases.

It’s safe to say that these digital natives have embraced social commerce – with a notable amount of purchasing completely within a social media platform. The algorithm-based shopping experience feels personalised, especially for brands that use an AI/chatbot, ‘shopping buddy.’

The Rise of Social Media eCommerce
Track Content Performance-TikTok

For those who still can’t wrap their heads around the ‘how’ of it all, let’s take a closer look.

Hashtag Purchases: From #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt to #AmazonFinds

Let’s dive into the world of hashtag purchases – a realm where social media rules the shopping carts, and hashtags guide the consumer! The concept is deceptively simple: tech-savvy shoppers scroll their social media feeds, eyes peeled for the next trend or cool item. When they spot something intriguing in a video or post, a mere tap is all it takes to find themselves smack-dab in the middle of a virtual checkout line. We’ve all been there, haven’t we?

Now, this isn’t a phenomenon isolated to one or two platforms. It’s a wildfire spreading across the entire digital landscape, especially on highly visual social networks such as Instagram, TikTok, and Pinterest. 

Remember the hashtags #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt with a whopping 2.3 billion views, or #AmazonFinds with 6.7 billion views? If that doesn’t scream, “I found it on social media and had to buy it”, then we don’t know what does!

Authenticity & Seamless Experience: The Key to Their Hearts (and Wallets)

Ah, remember the golden era when neon-coloured, jingle-infused advertisements managed to wiggle their way into your heart (and wallets)? Those were the good times, weren’t they? Well, those days are long gone, swept away by a new generation that craves not just flash but substance. Enter Gen Z and millennials, two groups steering the ship of consumer trends, and they’ve charted a course towards authentic content. 

This new crop of consumers aren’t interested in the smoke and mirrors. They don’t want brands pretending to be something they’re not, pulling wool over their eyes. Instead, they want the raw, real deal. An advertisement shot on an iPhone? A candid, behind-the-scenes peek at the production process? A brand admitting its mistakes? Yes, yes, and heck yes. In this new era, authenticity reigns supreme.

And why, you may ask? For one, Gen Z and millennials have been marinated in the digital age. This generation, the first truly digitally-centric and mobile-native one in history, has seen it all – lifestyle advertising, celebrity co-branding, and event sponsorships. They’ve grown so used to it that brands using these tactics have to work even harder to make an impression. If a brand can’t prove its worth in less than 10 seconds, it’s out of the game. No second chances.

But it’s not just about authenticity. These young guns also appreciate a seamless, frictionless experience. Remember how we said they were digital natives? That translates into expectations of smooth digital experiences. They don’t want to spend hours trying to navigate through a labyrinth of checkout processes. Imagine getting hyped up to buy a limited-edition pair of sneakers, only for your excitement to drain away in the face of a cumbersome checkout process. Such a bummer, right?

Influencers Unleashed: The Modern Magicians of Sales
Teen Influencer

Influencers have become the new-age salespeople. A growing number of Gen Zers and millennials find themselves buying a product based on an influencer’s recommendation. The power of influencers is real and tangible, and brands are catching on. These influencers are not just promoting products; they are shaping opinions, trends, and purchase decisions.

Oh, influencers. Not only have they become the new-age salespeople, but they’re the digital powerhouses propelling our buying habits into the 21st century, and boy, are they getting good at it. A rapidly expanding number of Gen Zers and millennials are finding themselves whipping out the credit card based on an influencer’s recommendation.

It’s clear that the clout of influencers is a force to be reckoned with. It’s concrete, it’s palpable, and brands are sprinting, not strolling, to catch up. But these influencers aren’t just glorified ad billboards. They’re not merely promoting products; they’re shaping opinions, steering trends, and commanding our purchase decisions like puppet masters – albeit very stylish puppet masters.

Imagine, if you will, a world where a luxurious handbag’s destiny hangs on a single Instagram post. Or a high-tech kitchen gadget is catapulted to fame by a 15-second TikTok video. 

Can you see it? Well, you should because it’s happening right here, right now! Every product you can think of, from skincare potions to the latest model SUV, has a digital influencer behind it, flexing their persuasive muscle, and businesses are jumping onto this influencer marketing rollercoaster ride!

The Future is Social

We are witnessing a paradigm shift in the retail landscape, courtesy of Gen Z and millennials. They have embraced the shift from traditional brick-and-mortar stores to online and, more recently, to social media platforms. The future of retail is here, and it is social!

To stay relevant in this digital marketplace, brands need to revamp their strategies and meet the consumers where they are – on their favourite social media platforms. With Gen Z and millennials in the driver’s seat, the shopping journey has been forever altered, making it not just a transaction but a fun, engaging, and social experience.

So, the next time you’re mindlessly scrolling through your feed and stumble upon a product you never knew you needed, remember, you’re not alone. You’re just a part of the social shopping revolution. 

Swipe Right for Sales: Leveraging Social Media Advertising in the Age of #tiktokmademebuyit
Tik Tok

Considering the influence that social media has on buying behaviours, it’s high time brands set sail on the ship of social media advertising. The destination? A treasure island where Gen Z and Millennials await, ready to engage with your brand and buy your products. Just remember to keep it short, make it entertaining, and reflective of your awesome brand!

But if you really want to take things up a notch, why not call on a professional social media marketing agency like First Page? We’re all about using the power of data to create super engaging ads for your brand on all the big social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube and TikTok. We’ve scooped up awards for our marketing campaigns because we really care about the details and getting results. When you join forces with us, it’s not just about hiring a service – you’re getting your very own dream team dedicated to driving your brand to its business goals and beyond. Let’s rock the social media world together!

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