How Gen Z is shopping online while staying home

A survey by Amplify also suggests young Canadians are holding brands to high standard when it comes their ads.

More members of Gen Z are adhering to physical distancing by staying at home with their families than any other age group, and a study shows the different ways that has impacted their online shopping habits.

Of 357 Canadians between the ages of 16 and 24 surveyed by student-focused agency Amplify, Gen Z men are spending more online during this crisis than women, but women are shopping online more frequently, with almost half (45%) doing so at least once a week. Clothing is the top item shopped for by females, while males say they shop for school-related items, like books. Roughly one in four are shopping for groceries online.

More Gen Z consumers (61%) are isolating at home with their parents than any other age group, which Amplify points out gives them less control over buying decisions than demographics, but increased power when it come to their influence on family purchases – decisions on things like household items are often controlled by family, instead of the individual.

The report notes that nearly 22% of respondents either had been laid off or had an upcoming internship terminated as a result of the pandemic, with 8% working reduced hours and 23% not having a job prior to the pandemic.

Amplify also gathered feedback on what kinds of expectations younger Canadians had for brands: 52% said it is appropriate to advertise during this time, compared to 27% who said it wasn’t and 21% that were unsure.

However, there is an important caveat for those who said they approved of advertising in the era of COVID-19. Respondents said they don’t approve of “inauthentic, contrived ads that are tone deaf to the current crisis.” These respondents appreciate the fact that businesses must advertise out of necessity, but want them to do so “thoughtfully.” Other responses from those in favour of advertising during this time included positively viewing brands that “help motivate people to contribute to a cause instead of selling their products.”

Respondents who said ads aren’t appropriate right now are not fond of the idea of marketing to individuals who may have lost their jobs, or are buying out of fear.

“Now, more than ever [brands] should focus on tangibly adding value to their customers and the community at-large,” Amplify states in the report.

The responses of those not in favour ranged from, “People don’t have money to spend after losing their jobs, so it’s not right to entice them,” to “It’s not the time to try and make a ton of money, it’s time to come together.”