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Gen Z: The Next Generation of Retail Influencers and Spenders

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Members of Generation Z influence a significant amount of household purchases and enjoy spending their own money, according to the latest issue of the Consumer View report released by the National Retail Federation (NRF).

“We’re seeing a shift in the way families shop where children are much more involved with purchasing decisions,” NRF vice president for Research Development and Industry Analysis Mark Mathews said. “This year during back-to-school shopping, teens and pre-teens were heavily involved with purchasing decisions and contributed significantly more of their own funds compared with a decade ago.”   

According to the report, 87% of parents say their children influence at least some aspect of their purchases, either for household items or for themselves. Gen Z is most likely to have an influence on clothes, outings, toys, and food purchases. They are also most likely to spend their own money on entertainment purchases such as apps, books/music, and toys/games. 

While Gen Zers might not always expect to be involved in family purchase decisions, their parents find it important to include them. The report said parents involve their children for a variety of reasons: the children will be using the item (57%), their opinion matters to their parents (57%), and to teach decision-making (56%). The most common time parents involve their children is at the front end of a purchase – when researching features and product reviews, and when price-checking or looking up product availability. 

The report also found that Gen Zers influence different aspects of shopping including the specific brands parents consider (52%), product features that are important (48%), and specific retailers that are considered (41%).

“Shopping is a great way for parents to bond with their children, and parents want retailers to make it even easier to involve their children,” Mathews said. “As the industry continues to evolve, retailers have a huge opportunity to expand all-inclusive family shopping.”

Gen Z includes young people born in 1995 and later, ranging from newborns to young adults.

Consumer View is a recurring report issued by the NRF that gauges consumer behavior and shopping trends related to stores, online channels, customer loyalty, technology, and other topics. Using Toluna Analytics, the study surveyed 2,926 U.S. adults 18 or older for NRF April 24 through May 17. The consumer poll has a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points.

About NRF

The National Retail Federation, the world’s largest retail trade association, passionately advocates for the people, brands, policies, and ideas that help retail thrive. From its headquarters in Washington, D.C., NRF empowers the industry that powers the economy. Retail is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP and supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. For over a century, NRF has been a voice for every retailer and every retail job, educating, inspiring, and communicating the powerful impact retail has on local communities and global economies.

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