Blame Gen Z: why shopping experiences are becoming easier by the click, touch and tap.

Young woman looking at her phone sitting in a cafe

Have you noticed lately how often shopping and technology intersect?

There’s a psychological phenomenon appearing among the Gen Z population that’s helping retailers revolutionize and expedite our dining and shopping experiences: anxiety. To better understand the distribution of anxiety across the Total Market, we conducted an America in 2018 study that focused on psychological constructs, attitudes, behaviors, ethnicity, cultural fluency and demographics across four generations.

Anxiety traits

The young and restless: Gen Z individuals, on average, are more anxious and possess lower self-esteem compared to millennials, Gen X and boomers.

Shopping creates stress, and retailers are scrambling to alleviate it.

Given their stage in life, it’s no surprise that Gen Z’s are more anxious than older individuals. A closer look at the data, however, reveals and important takeaway for retailers: shopping makes Gen Z even more anxious and stressed out.

Chart showing percentage of Gen Z that find shopping stressful

It also doesn’t help that 50% of Gen Z individuals aren’t comfortable managing their own finances, compared to 82% of Boomers who do. The question remains: what’s the secret behind marketing to Gen Z, a population that hates shopping and feel challenged by their finances?

The answer is pretty simple: streamlined shopping, ordering, tracking and checkout.

The nature of Gen Z’s anxious psychological construct creates room for brands to implement digital technologies that not only relieve material problems, but also solve emotional ones (such as uncertainty, wariness and suspicion). Our ability to place an order, track it geographically, and pay for it all through a digital interface caters to our uncertainty about the process as a whole.

Accommodating anxious adolescents: real life applications.

Businesses are conquering this generational trend. Find out who some of the big players are:

Pay less, now.

Their slogan “Shop now. Enjoy Now. Pay Later”, is the perfect phrase to catch our Gen Z population’s attention. AfterPay, a flexible digital payment option, allows shoppers to make payment installments on some of their favorite brands, instead of making the purchase upfront. This is convenient for Gen Z, a population that lacks the same cash flow compared to career-oriented millennials or Gen X’s. This payment option also lets the user feel as though they have financial responsibility.

Rapid food deliveries.

The experience is pretty much exactly way it sounds: DoorDash lets you order online, and someone picks up the order and brings it to your door as soon as possible. DoorDash is a great example of the human-less transaction: ordering, tracking the driver, payment and tip are all managed through the app. This app helps answer the age old questions, “where’s my food”, and “when will I eat?”.

Seamless styling.

Being a member of Stitch Fix is like having your own personal stylist. It’s a truly customized, we’ll-do-it-for-you kind of experience that takes the guesswork out of what looks good on your body and what’s in season right now. A monthly delivery allows you to either choose or return what you receive. All transactions and style settings are managed through their very own app.

Author: Katie Hockstein