Generation Z consumers have shown a clear preference for in-store shopping over millennials in several categories, including electronics (43% versus 37%) and clothing (43% versus 40%), according to a new report from omnichannel marketing and customer experience platform, Selligent Marketing Cloud.

The report has also revealed that Gen Z (born between 1997 and 2010) visit physical stores more often than any other age group with 59% visit a store at least once a week.

Three-quarters (75%) of Gen Z respondents say they shop on smartphones, compared to 69% of millennials, while 49% of Gen Z respondents say they obtain news and information from YouTube, compared to 37% of millennials. Further, more than half (55%) of Gen Z respondents want to wait until technology is proven to work before they adopt, compared to 47% of millennials.

For retailers, having a presence across digital and physical channels is no longer enough to reach the youngest generation of consumers. Gen Z expects technology to enhance their physical experiences rather than replace them.

Rather than turning to traditional media brands, Gen Z is more likely to seek information on social media platforms than older generations. In fact, almost half (49%) say they are more likely to make a purchase after seeing a post or ad on social media than through any other channel (SMS, website or email). When searching for information, Gen Z turns to influencers on platforms like TikTok (23% – twice as many as other generations) or YouTube (49% compared to 37% for millenials).

This generation was raised with social media and can, therefore, adapt to various formats and types of content more easily, according to Selligent marketing director for Europe and North America, Anne Jarry.

“For this reason, companies have a unique opportunity to merge advertising and content strategies for this audience, as well as create and integrate different touchpoints with their consumers. In a trusted environment, delivering highly relevant messages, such as personalised videos embedded in a newsletter or a live-streamed event on TikTok, is much more appealing to Gen Z than other generations,” she said.

Selligent global vice president of client successs, Ramses Bossuyt added, “The Gen Z transformation is upon us, and marketers must be ready. Those who haven’t evolved their marketing strategies to connect with this consumer segment are already falling behind.

“Gen Z’s behaviour and motivations are different from their predecessors. They consume information, interact online and even shop differently, therefore, it’s critical for marketers to adapt. As a generation that desires control, brands need to empower Gen Z to effectively capture their unique preferences and form relationships, especially as third-party cookies phase out entirely, making personalisation even more vital to reaching Gen Z.”