How Social Media Shapes Young Adult Shopping Habits

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Young adults, also known as Generation Z, have grown up in the digital age when everything is located on their mobile devices. They are considered to be easily influenced by what they see on social media applications such as Instagram, Twitter and TikTok. Many brands have been able to use the power of social media advertising and marketing to shape young adults’ shopping habits by invoking trend culture.

Social media is now the best way to connect with a target audience of Gen Z and younger, as it consumes most of their lives. This is no surprise as over half the world’s population now uses social media (62.6%). This is such a large number of different people that can be targeted through a social media campaign, so it’s no surprise that businesses are leaping at the opportunity to show their products on these platforms.

In this article, we will explore how social media has shaped the shopping habits of young adults and what types of brands have been able to leverage social media for their benefit.

Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing is perhaps the most powerful way of promoting through social media, as large social media account holders are paid to promote their products and services to their audience. Young shoppers will be more inclined to trust an influencer that they follow on social media, as they often portray themselves as being an authentic source of information.

Influencers have been able to shape shopping habits for a variety of generations, depending on the products or services that they are promoting. An example of this for young adults is the promotion of Velo patches. It became somewhat of a TikTok and Instagram trend to promote products like this, as the brands behind them were quick to act on promotional opportunities. A similar product that also received a large amount of promotion are nicopods, which were promoted as a healthier alternative to tobacco.

Social Commerce

Social commerce has allowed brands to sell products to consumers directly through social media platforms, with TikTok and Instagram being prime examples of platforms having both shops and marketplaces. Consumers can get a hold of something that they have seen advertised with just a few clicks, which has made the generation become compulsive spenders.

Social media platforms can also use data to further promote products that consumers might be interested in. This caused quite a controversy recently, as Facebook was outed for stealing people’s search data so that they could better recommend products through their website. Although this is frowned upon, it often goes unnoticed just how much it shapes shopping habits.

Building Brand Loyalty

Building brand loyalty is such a powerful tool as it makes customers want to return, so being able to communicate like never before has been revolutionary for brands. It allows brands to become more trustworthy in the eyes of consumers.

Brands need to make sure that they meet the demands of what consumers expect if they want their communication to turn profitable. Transparency, authenticity and responsibility are some of the key things that consumers want from a brand, so being able to use social media to show this is great for a brand’s success.

This has completely changed the way brands have been able to alter the shopping habits of Gen Z audiences, as companies can now completely shape the perception of a specific type of product or service through strong communication methods.

The Current Shopping Habits of Gen Z

There are some shopping habits of young adults that look as though they’re here to stay despite how much habits are usually shaped by social media. These include:

  • Sustainable Shopping: Perhaps the biggest shopping trend for young adults that doesn’t look to be changing is the desire to be environmentally friendly and purchase sustainable products. Even if they don’t believe in the idea, brands have been using this desire to their advantage.
  • Streamlined Payments: Being able to pay for items on demand when shopping online has been a massive attraction in the modern age. Offering quick payment solutions should be a guarantee for all online retailers if they want regular customers.
  • Engaging Content: There’s no denying that the attention span of young adults isn’t great, with statistics backing this up. Brands have been able to capitalize on this through quick videos and reels that quickly promote their products and services.