Millennials and Gen Z Report: 2020 Trends and COVID-19 Shifts

September 17, 2020
millennials gen z 2020 trends covid covid-19

We’re excited to publish the results of our retail survey with Drapers in the form of the Gen Z and Millennials 2020 report, which looks at the commerce habits and preferences of Gen Z and Millennials. The survey collected responses from 2,000 consumers split between Gen Zers (aged 18-25) and Millennials (aged 26-40) and asked about their online shopping and in-store shopping preferences. 

While these younger adult generations were already leaders in adopting online and mobile commerce, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated many of their behaviors and opinions.

Millennials and Gen Z Shopping Shifts in 2020

The study finds that younger adult generations have further shifted their preference away from in-store shopping and that even when life goes back to normal, issues like long lines and crowds will remain deterrents. More than half of young adult shoppers, 30% of Gen Z and 36% of Millennials, plan to shop in physical stores less than before.

These two groups have decided that ecommerce is more enticing than ever, with 28% of Gen Zers and 24% of Millennials noting they will likely shop online more than before. 

Their move toward online shopping highlights important elements of the experience that retailers can focus on when looking to improve their own customer journeys. Both groups cited convenience and price comparison as the top two benefits of online shopping. They want to have the online journey become even more convenient, with better fit technology and better shipping options. 

  • 55% of Millennials cited convenience as their top online shopping benefit
  • 51% of Gen Z cited price comparison as their top online shopping benefit

Download The Gen Z and Millennials 2020 report

The 2020 edition of Drapers’ data-led consumer research report delves into the minds of this important and influential generation of shoppers.

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Social media is also a big influence on their purchase decisions. In particular, 64.2% of Gen Z noted that they get shopping inspiration from Instagram, compared to 39.1% of Millennials. These younger generations also care a great deal about ethics, sustainability, and equality. For example, 41% of Gen Z said they’d pay more for sustainable fashion, while 73.9% of Millennials think it’s very or fairly important that brands show that they are pro-diversity and pro-equality.

Of course, stores still have an important place in the commerce experience. Trying on clothes and browsing to discover new styles remain very strong draws for shoppers. The challenge is to offer these elements of the experience in a way that melds with higher levels of online activity. A unified commerce approach certainly provides the insights, control, and flexibility to pivot as needed. 

Our CMO, Lisa Kalscheur notes, “Younger adult generations were already online shopping fans before the COVID-19 pandemic, and this research shows that they’ve moved even further toward digital channels. The study shows that retailers can lean into updated online technology to help with convenience, fit and other key product information, and lean into social media to capture loyalty as the pandemic winds down over 2021.” 

“Now is not the time for retailers to guess how to create better online shopping experiences, and this research provides a clear path for the adult generations that will lead our economy in the coming years.”

What’s more, these younger generations are savvy about what drives companies, and will make purchase decisions based on this information. Retailers should be transparent when they can, and also provide online channels to educate their buyers about their practices in the categories that matter most, such as equality and sustainability.

The Future of Commerce

Millennials and Gen Z are the future of ecommerce, but they are also a major part of today. COVID-19 has simply sped up the need for retailers to create online experiences that fit their needs, while determining the right place in their footprint for physicals stores as the pandemic evolves.