The Influence Of Gen Z

How Brands Can Adapt To The

First Digital Native Generation


Gen Z - Header logos

Gen Z Shopping Habits: How Gen Z Consumer Behavior is Shaping Commerce

What comes to mind when you consider the younger generation's buying habits? Is it social media? Influencer marketing? Instant gratification? Sustainable products? Maybe you don't consider Gen Z consumers at all when strategizing your brand's future. That, my friend, would be a mistake.

With each new generation that becomes dominant in the market, retailers face the crux of two paths: play the role of self-depreciation and blame the new generation for change, or plan and pivot to be on the forefront of the new generation’s radar. Here we’re bringing you options to choose the latter.

Gaining the loyalty and trust of Generation Zers will secure your brand's customer lifetime value for years to come.

Who is Gen Z?

Generation Z is the first generation to be digital natives, according to McKinsey. They are known for their tech-savvy nature and commitment to social and environmental justice. That commitment is translated directly into Gen Zers shopping habits through their loyalty to sustainable brands.

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According to Forbes, “No generation before them has shown the same widespread commitment to any societal issue since the Boomers were protesting the Vietnam War in the late 1960s/early 1970s. Retailers and brands need to pay close attention because, by 2031, Bank of America predicts that Gen Z’s income will surpass that of their next older generation, Millennials, and they will become the most disruptive generation ever.”

Gen Z’s Shopping Habits

Born 1997 to 2012 Generation Z, also known as the “Tik Tok” generation, are now in their mid-20s are more accustomed to making informed purchase decisions than previous generations. Said to be one of the most influential and disruptive generations to have lived, members of Gen Z are not yet leading companies but they are beginning to land jobs and gaining spending power. 

These proud champions of sustainable consumer practices have views with a major influence on other age groups to change their buying behavior. Those that are on the younger end of the generation (Gen Z teens) are directing the spending of their parents who are Millennial consumers and Generation X. They are also creating the viral trends that we see on platforms such as TikTok.

Gen Z adults turn 26 this year, and each year they become profoundly more committed to aligning their consumption with their values. Those values are centered around 

  • the health of our planet, 
  • reducing their carbon footprint, 
  • supporting small producers and local businesses, 
  • participating in the circular economy,
  • social responsibility, 
  • transparency from brands they patron
  • and, a seamless digital user experience.
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Online Shopping

From social media to influencer marketing Gen Z are most likely to find new brands and retailers online. Now, this doesn't mean they don't shop in a physical store, it just means that to gain generation z brand loyalty brands must have an online presence. 

Sustainable Brands

Aside from having an online presence, the most common theme retailers must adhere to with Generation Z is transparency and sustainability. While Millenials and Generation X prefer to shop with sustainable brands, the Gen Z shopper demands it and will cease supporting brands they feel don't align with their values.

How Retailers Can Gain Gen Z Brand Loyalty 

Moving forward brands that successfully gain the loyalty of Gen Z consumers will need more than just a marketing strategy. Baby boomers and the older generations trust retailers more easily than young people in the market today. The Gen Z audience does their research and can spot a greenwashing campaign from a mile away. 

Capturing the attention span and brand loyalty of gen z consumers is a top-down, organization-wide approach from packaging to automation to your material and supply chain.  That's why EcoCart has collaborated with nine industry experts to bring you an 11-chapter guide on how to set your brand up for success when marketing to an audience like Generation Z. 


  • Chapter 1: Sustainability by EcoCart
  • Chapter 2: Loyalty by LoyaltyLion
  • Chapter 3: Packaging  by Arka
  • Chapter 4: Subscriptions by Smartrr
  • Chapter 5: Automation by Alloy Automation
  • Chapter 6: Web & Tech Stack by JustUno
  • Chapter 7: Shipping by Whiplash
  • Chapter 8: Storytelling & Branding by Hawke Media
  • Chapter 9: Fairtrade Practices by EcoCart
  • Chapter 10: Materials & Supply Chain by Manifest
  • Chapter 11: Returns by Loop Returns

We hope this comprehensive guide will give your brand the tools you need to adapt to the demands of younger consumers to gain their loyalty for years to come.