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Gen Z shopping trends: deals and authenticity driving decision making

Valuable deals and brand authenticity are driving consumer decision-making – especially among Gen Z and millennials, according to new research.

Gen Z shopping trends: deals and authenticity driving decision making

Overall, the report shows that 61% of consumers say coupons and discounts (both online and print) can inspire them to try a new brand.

The study, from marketing technology and consumer engagement Valassis, examines responses from more than 2,000 U.S. consumers in two separate surveys

The “Chasing Value: The Mind of the Modern Shopper” report notes how their shopping patterns and purchasing decisions have changed within specific categories including food, household goods and health & beauty care products amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Key findings also show:

  • A brand’s values mean as much as its value. More consumers, especially younger generations, are inclined to show loyalty to brands and retailers that have sustainable/ethical business practices and match their own personal values.

  • Online is (still) an under-utilized asset. Social distancing has driven many shopping experiences online, but brands are not yet on pace with consumer needs or expectations.

  • Deals after the transaction matter, too. Gen Z and millennials are more likely to scan receipts for post-purchase rewards and use a product review to share how much money a product saved them.

The findings point to actionable insights at a time when brands are recovering, looking to build meaningful connections with consumers to drive increased engagement.

The ongoing pandemic has led to a noticeable shift in consumer behaviours, including an expanded consciousness as it relates to savings and value. According to the survey, 70% of consumers have increased saving behaviours and 76% expect these new behaviours to continue over the next year.

In addition to monetary value, consumers – especially within younger generations – place increasing emphasis on identifying and connecting with a brand’s corporate values. For example, 43% of all consumers say they are more likely to buy products from companies whose values match their own. Important among younger generations, this is true for 55% of millennials and 47% of Gen Z consumers.

As younger generations – especially Gen Z – garner increasingly more buying power, brands and marketers must prioritize impactful engagements to build lasting relationships.

“The modern shopper is resilient, quick to adopt online shopping options and voraciously seeks value,” said Michelle Engle, chief marketing officer at Valassis. “For brands to spark consumer discovery, they must connect consumers with marketing at precise moments to accelerate a purchase. Our findings help illuminate a path forward as brands rebound. With the right tools to fully understand consumer behavior – including the strong desire for savings and a flexible, seamless shopping experience – brands can deliver on consumer needs and buying intentions as well as tap into what motivates them.”

According to the survey, marketing messages that include coupons, discounts and social media promotions have the potential to shorten the path to purchase:

  • 61% indicated coupons or discounts can inspire them to try a new brand and 54% said it would lead them to make an impulse purchase.

  • 60% indicated receiving a coupon or discount speeds up their decision to make a purchase.

Key takeaways from the report show:

  • Consumers lean into savings – while planning and even post-purchase

76% of all consumers regularly compare prices between brands using printed store circulars and 71% do so using online circulars.

51% of millennials and 43% of Gen Z consumers scan receipts with their mobile device to receive cash back or points post-purchase (compared to 31% of all consumers).

  • Brand values matter to consumers

71% of consumers are more likely to purchase from a brand or store they trust.

64% of millennials and 53% of Gen Z consumers say they are inclined to show loyalty to a brand or store that has sustainable/ethical business practices (compared to 48% of all consumers).

  • An eagerness for shared experiences

45% of millennials and 33% of Gen Z share brand reviews including details of how much they saved (compared to 23% of all consumers).

35% of all consumers note they’ve made a purchase based on something they saw on social media (a 5 percentage point increase from 2019).

  • A willingness to treat themselves

Overall, 35% of consumers consider themselves to be predominantly impulse shoppers (up from 28% in 2019). When consumers make impulse buys, 43% say that it’s out of a desire to “treat themselves.”

Despite the ongoing pandemic, 45% of consumers are expanding their budget and ability to buy fun things or experiences by using coupons and discounts.

To review the full 2020 Consumer Intel Report, download “Chasing Value: The Mind of the Modern Shopper.”


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