As online shopping becomes their preference, interest in dynamic digital shopping experiences is growing for Gen Z and Millennials…
In 2018, YPulse’s Shoppability trend report explored the coming transformation of retail, and predicted that because of Gen Z and Millennials’ rising expectation that the whole world is their showroom, new trends in shopping were making 360 shoppability the next era of retail. The idea that wherever they go, online or off, the items they see are an “add to cart” click away has only grown since. Social media has become more and more shoppable, with platforms integrating retail tool after retail tool to make their platforms into marketplaces that Gen Z and Millennials don’t need to leave to make a purchase. Livestreams have been growing as a retail medium globally, and shoppable articles are a regular fixture on BuzzFeed.
Last year, we predicted that this trend would be accelerated by COVID. When physical retail locations were forced to go into lockdown last spring, more brands found ways to make online shopping more of an experience for young consumers—and amped up their digital shopping capabilities.
Companies from Google to Poshmark have launched new shoppable features, while several major social platforms have added their own shoppable tools. And Gen Z and Millennials’ interest in shoppable content and features has also been growing? Our recent social and mobile marketing preferences behavioral survey asked 13-39-year-olds how interested they are shoppable features, and found clear increases across the board compared to last year:
Social shopping, aka buying products directly on social media feeds, is the shoppable experience that young consumers are most interested in, with 64% of 13-39-year-olds are interested in purchasing items directly from social media feeds, with Millennials more likely to do so though more than half of Gen Z are interested in it as well. Both generations are highly interested in social shopping, and popular social platforms have certainly taking notice: Last summer, we told you how social media shopping is quickly speeding up, and that includes the launch of Facebook Shops, Instagram expanding their Shopping capabilities to more influencers, Pinterest adding a Shopping Lens, Snapchat’s Shoppable show, and TikTok finally launching the “Shop Now” button, and even smaller social apps like Flip are betting on the social shopping trend as well. Young people—especially Gen Z—have practically grown up on social media, so of course, they would naturally start shopping on the apps when given the opportunity.
The majority of Gen Z and Millennials also say they are interested in purchasing items from shoppable articles (articles that feature products and services that are for sale through the publisher or linked to a retailer like Amazon). Even before the pandemic, lifestyle publications were already producing shoppable articles. But during lockdowns, publishers started getting more serious about exploring and considering it as part of their business models. As this ecommerce content has become more of a norm, we’ve seen Gen Z and Millennials interest edge up as well.
Meanwhile, when it comes to snap to shop apps which are apps that recognize products and sell similar products or link to retailers—more than half of Gen Z and Millennials saying they are interested in using them. Since 2018, apparel retailer ASOS has had a Style Match feature that allows shoppers to use their camera to search through the brand’s inventory to find exactly what they want. Meanwhile, social networks have recently launched similar snap to shop features too: Over the summer, Snapchat unveiled a camera that “scans” outfits to help Snapchatters shop, while Pinterest’s Shopping Lens feature allows users to browse through shoppable results.
But while social shopping, shoppable articles, and snap to shop apps are still the shoppable features that young consumers are most interested in making purchases through, the biggest jumps in interest are actually in shoppable videos and livestreams. More publishers have been leaning into shoppable videos, which more than half of Gen Z and Millennials say they’re interested in purchasing products from. For instance, Condé Nast, who owns publications like Vogue and GQ, announced over the summer that they had plans to launch more shoppable shows on top of their available series—50 new pilots across 17 brands, to be exact. As mentioned, other brands have already taken advance of shoppable video trend, with Google launching their Shoploop feature that lets shoppers discover, evalture, and buy products in one spot, while Poshmark added a new Posh Stories tool to allow their millions of registered users to create and share short, shoppable videos and photos of the items in their online closet. According to the online resale platform, $175 million worth of inventory is uploaded to their site weekly, and “relationships and communications are critical” to sales—and they feel like they launched Stories during a time when people want to “connect at a deeper and more intimate level, bringing the listings to life.”
One of the more significant increases in shoppable content interest is with livestream shopping, which went up from 41% in 2020 to 48% this year. Our Future of Experience trend research explores how livestream events like concerts and shows have been popular with young consumers in the last year, but livestream has infiltrated the shopping industry as well. Gen Z are more likely to be interested in purchasing something from a shoppable livestream compared to Millennials, though nearly half of Millennials say they are interested in shoppable livestreams as well. The interest in shoppable live streams has gone up significantly for both groups as well: Only 34% of Gen Z said they were interested in shoppable livestreams last year, but that’s jumped to more than half in 2021. As mentioned, companies have added livestream shopping tools to reach young shoppers: Last summer, Amazon, which is Gen Z and Millennials’ favorite place to shop for clothing, launched a new livestreaming feature for for influencers, which was being touted as the “modern-day version of QVC.” Luxury brands have tapped into the market as well: Luxury e-trailer Moda Operandi, known for hosting intimate designer trunk shows and in-person private showroom visits, debuted video shopping feature Moda Live, a new “video shopping,” which hosts half-hour livestreams hosted by designers, and Chinese ecommerce sites JD.com and Alibaba both partnered with the live streaming platform Kuaishou to host events to connect brands and customers too. Other brands popular among young consumers have also been quick to jump on the trend, like Kylie Cosmetics, PacSun, BuzzFeed, and Walmart, who have recently hosted livestream shopping events as a way to reach Gen Z shoppers.
With more companies jumping into the shoppable content trend, it’s likely that these generations’ interest in shoppable tools will only continue to increase. Even as young shoppers start to feel more comfortable shopping in-person, shoppable content is something they’re clearly interested in seeing more of.
YPulse Business users can access the full social and mobile marketing preferences behavioral report and data here.
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