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How youngest and most digitally adept consumers are forcing change

The living, shopping, and financial habits of Gen Z or ‘Zoomers’ (consumers aged between 16 and 24) are very different from previous generations. This demographic, who never knew life without the internet and smartphones, currently represents the largest population group, surpassing Millennials in 2019.

To shed some light on Zoomers, the global payments platform Thunes conducted a world-wide study into their shopping, social and payment preferences. They interviewed 6,500 people between the ages of 16 and 24 from 13 developed and emerging countries around the world, including the UK.

Social media consumption: Social media is part of Gen Z daily life and is increasingly driving their economic activity. Eight out of 10 said they use social media on multiple occasions throughout the day. Seven out of 10 said they have purchased products they discovered on social media, such as Facebook and TikTok.

Paying the bill: Cash is on the decline, but still relevant. Mobile wallets are gaining ground – in five out of 13 surveyed countries, it is the most popular payment method.

Shopping habits: Zoomers are a generation of shoppers. In all of the surveyed markets, shopping accounts for the single biggest share of their spending – ahead of entertainment, events, and eating out.

Focus on Brand and UX: One of the most important drivers for Zoomers considering purchase and payment methods is brand trust – it was the number one factor for choosing a primary payment method in western and emerging markets. User experience was identified as the second most popular factor, which in an online world affects loyalty too.

Thunes CEO Peter De Caluwe says: “To many, Gen Z is a misunderstood and overlooked generation. This is a generation to which ‘dial-up’ and ‘desktop’ are meaningless words and who don’t just think ‘mobile-first’ but live and breathe in apps, social media, digital platforms and, soon, the metaverse. We should start to take this generation seriously as the revenues and strategic plans of many businesses – especially those that are relying on fast growth – are dependent on them.”

As the world moves online, social media, content and entertainment platforms, payment providers, and consumer brands looking to capitalise on Zoomers and their online spending habits must consider all these factors. Gen Z will be influenced first, not by price or even range or scarcity, but by their social circles, brand engagement online, and trendy, convenient, trustworthy payment options.

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