Gen Z prefers Instagram when hearing from brands, Piper Jaffray says

Dive Brief:

  • Ninety percent of teens report using Instagram at least once a month, according to Piper Jaffray’s semiannual, “Taking Stock With Teens” survey. Among the teens surveyed, 70% said they prefer brands to contact them about new products through Instagram, with Snapchat following as the preferred method for brand engagement at about 50%. However, Snapchat is the favored social media channel, with 41% of those surveyed naming it as their favorite, compared to 35% for Instagram. Just 6% of teens named Facebook as a favorite, down from more than 22% six months ago.
  • Amazon tops the list for favorite shopping sites, with 50% of teens saying it is their preferred shopping site (up from 44% last spring), followed by Nike at 5%. While Nike continued its reign as the top clothing and footwear brand among teens, Vans and lululemon each reached new highs in the survey. Ulta replaced Sephora as teens’ favorite beauty destinations for the first time.
  • Teens spend 37% of their online time each day watching Netflix compared to 32% watching YouTube, according to the survey. Both sites dropped a point from the fall report. Apple’s share of the smartphone market is significant among this audience, as 83% of teens surveyed have an iPhone and 86% expect their next phone to be an iPhone.

Dive Insight:

  • Generation Z contributes about $830 billion to U.S. retail sales each year, with spending up about 1% from a year ago, making this group an important one for brands to reach, according to the Piper Jaffray report. With other research showing that Gen Z also likes engaging with brands and has key differences from millennials, the new report provides insight into what is and isn’t resonating with this demographic, useful information as marketers look to craft their strategies for engaging younger consumers.
  • Instagram is fast becoming a go-to channel for brands to push messages to consumers in-stream, and even shop. Instagram expanded its Shopping tool and unveiled Shoppable Instagram Stories last year. And last month, the social app launched in-app check out with 20 major brands including Nike and Adidas — two of the most popular brands among Gen Z.
  • The Stories format, which counts 500 million users, has been important to Instagram’s ad growth. In Q4 2018, Facebook announced that 2 million advertisers were active on Stories across Facebook, Instagram and Messenger during the year.
  • As Gen Z has a strong affinity for Instagram, these consumers also take what they’ve learned in these sessions in to stores. According to the report, 80% of teens get their beauty tips from influencers, but 90% of the female survey respondents said they would rather shop for cosmetics in-store. It’s interesting that Ulta replaced Sephora for the first time as a top beauty destination, given Sephora’s strong social strategy. The trend matches gains for Ulta more broadly across beauty shoppers.
  • Gen Z also has an affinity for fast food, with Chick-Fil-A their favorite restaurant, followed by Starbucks and then Chipotle, according to Piper Jaffray. Food was the top spending category among male teens at 23%. Clothing was the leading category among female teens at 25%. Many of the findings are in line with previous research on Gen Z, which also highlights how the age group is influenced by social media celebrities. Separate research also shows that Gen Z may love their phones, but that isn’t keeping them out of stores.

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