Gen Z Customer Behavior: Everything You Need To Know In 2024

Gen Z Customer Behavior: Everything You Need To Know In 2024

The Gen Z makes up 20% of the US population, which means understanding their customer behavior: unique preferences, values, and shopping habits will improve your marketing strategies.

This article provides everything you need to know about how Gen Z thinks and acts as consumers. You’ll learn about their digital-first mindset, values-driven decisions, and the key factors influencing their purchases. 

By the end, you will learn the best strategies to connect with Gen Z and meet your business goals in targeting this dynamic audience. 

Who Is The Gen Z? Explained Simply

Generation Z are those born between the mid-1990s and early 2010s who are now between 10 and 25 years old. They have never known a world without the internet and practically grew up with smartphones in their hands. Over 90% of them have been using technology from a very young age. 

Since Gen Z is so comfortable in the digital space, you should meet them there. This means innovative and authentic online strategies. While very connected online, Gen Z wants brands that demonstrate real care for issues like diversity, inclusion, and social causes.

How Gen Z’s Consume Media 

As you learn about Gen Z’s favorite online platforms and content styles, look for two marketing strategies that align with your business goals. Consider how you can make each approach unique to your brand personality.

Favorite Platforms 

  • TikTok: With 69% of its active users being Gen Z, TikTok thrives on quick, engaging content that matches their short attention spans. They love scrolling through its endless feed of short music videos and creative clips, making it their go-to entertainment app.
  • YouTube: Over 4 in 5 Gen Z individuals hop on YouTube daily. They enjoy watching tutorials, challenges, and commentary videos, especially those less than 20 minutes long. 
  • Instagram: 75% of Gen Zs actively use Instagram. While photos are still popular, features like Stories and Reels, which include videos, have increased the time they spend on the platform to an average of 30 minutes/day. 

Content Preferences 

01 gen z customer behavior - videos

01 gen z customer behavior – videos

  • Short-Form Videos: Gen Z thrives on bite-sized content in TikTok and Instagram Reels. These 15-30-second videos cater to their shorter attention spans. Focus on creating engaging, concise videos using trending sounds, challenges, and quick tutorials to keep them hooked.
  • Memes: Memes are the language of the internet, and Gen Z speaks it fluently. They use memes to comment on current events, share humor, and express their identities. Well-timed, clever memes can go viral, putting your brand in the spotlight.
  • Interactive Content: Gen Zs don’t just want to watch content; they want to like, comment, share posts, participate in polls, and enter contests. It keeps them engaged and invested. Create user-generated content campaigns, interactive stories, or contests with appealing rewards.

Gen Z Shopping Habits

As you dive into Gen Z’s shopping habits, consider how you can tweak your marketing approach to connect with what your audience needs.

1. Mobile-First Shopping

02 gen z customer behavior - mobile first

02 gen z customer behavior – mobile first

Gen Zs use their purchasing power on their smartphones. They browse products, read reviews, and compare prices using it. Mobile commerce is second nature to them.

What To Do: 

  • Make sure your website is mobile-friendly, with a responsive design and quick load times (2 seconds or faster).
  • Make shopping easy and enjoyable with features like personalized recommendations and easy checkout options.
  • Adapt to popular mobile payment options like Apple Pay, Google Wallet, and PayPal for a seamless transaction experience.

2. Social Media Influence

Social media presence heavily influences Gen Z’s purchasing decisions. Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat are their must-trusted sources for discovering new products and brands. Your social media marketing and the influencers you work with have a strong pull on their buying choices.

What To Do:

  • Partner with influencers who resonate with Gen Z. For example, if your product is in the eco-friendly skincare niche, partner with influencers who focus on sustainable living and green beauty.
  • Use Instagram Shopping and TikTok’s shopping integrations to let users buy products directly from these platforms.
  • Encourage customers to share their purchases on social platforms using branded hashtags. Showcase this content on your channels to build trust and engagement.

3. Values-Driven Purchasing

Gen Zs are known for their strong values and desire to support brands that align with their beliefs. They prioritize sustainability, ethical practices, and social responsibility in their purchasing decisions.

What To Do:

  • Be open about your brand’s values, sourcing, and manufacturing processes. Highlight your commitment to sustainability and ethical practices.
  • Run campaigns that support causes important to Gen Z like environmental initiatives or social justice efforts. Show how your brand is making a positive impact.
  • Offer sustainable and eco-friendly products. Use eco-conscious packaging and promote these efforts prominently.

4. Seamless Omnichannel Experience

03 gen z customer behavior - omnichannel experience

03 gen z customer behavior – omnichannel experience

Gen Z expects a seamless shopping experience across various channels, including online, in-store, and social media. They want the flexibility to browse and purchase products through multiple touchpoints.

What To Do: 

  • Make sure your online and offline channels are well-integrated. Customers should be able to check product availability online, reserve items, and pick them up in-store.
  • Keep a consistent brand voice and experience across all platforms, from your website and social media to your physical stores.
  • Offer robust customer support options: live chat, social media messaging, and quick responses to inquiries.

5. Personalized Shopping Experience

Gen Zs appreciate personalized shopping experiences tailored to their preferences and behaviors. They expect more brands to understand their needs and offer relevant recommendations.

What To Do: 

  • Use data analytics to understand Gen Z’s shopping habits and preferences. Offer personalized product recommendations and targeted promotions based on Gen Z customer behavior.
  • Send personalized emails with tailored offers and product suggestions. Use their browsing and purchase history to make relevant recommendations.
  • Develop brand loyalty programs that reward frequent purchases with personalized offers and exclusive deals or affiliate programs where they can earn incentives. 

5 Key Values of Gen Z Consumers

Understanding their values helps you connect better with them, here are 5 of the most important ones you should keep in mind. 

1. Digital-First Mindset

Gen Z lives in a digital world. They’re constantly on social media platforms, using the latest apps, and interacting with smart devices. They want things to be convenient and easily accessible because they’ve grown up with technology and expect instant results.

What To Do:

  • Make sure your website looks great on mobile devices. Have a responsive design that adapts to different screen sizes. For example, use large, easy-to-read fonts, clear navigation menus, and touch-friendly buttons.
  • Test your site on different devices to make sure it loads quickly. Use Lighthouse to check performance and aim for load times under 3 seconds.
  • Ensure smooth navigation with intuitive layouts and easily accessible search functions. Avoid pop-ups that disrupt the user experience.

2. Sustainability & Social Responsibility

Gen Zs care deeply about the environment and social issues. They grew up with climate change awareness and want to support brands that are eco-friendly and ethical because they believe their choices can make a difference in the world.

What To Do:

  • Clearly communicate your sustainability efforts on your website and social media. For example, showcase your use of recycled materials or reduction in plastic waste.
  • Share transparent reports on your environmental impact. Use infographics and charts to document your progress in reducing emissions or using fewer chemicals.
  • Use eco-friendly packaging and highlight this in your product descriptions and marketing materials.

Here’s an excellent example from a local window cleaning service: by simply mentioning that they use environmentally safe cleaning products, they can effectively appeal to Gen Zs, easily swaying Gen Zs to choose their services.

04 gen z customer behavior - eco friendly values

04 gen z customer behavior – eco friendly values

3. Diversity & Inclusion

Gen Zs value diversity and inclusion. These younger consumers see themselves and their diverse world reflected in your marketing because representation matters to them, and they choose brands that promote equality.

What To Do:

  • Use diverse images and messages in your ads and social media posts. Feature individuals from various backgrounds and communities.
  • Partner with organizations that support marginalized groups. For example, sponsor events or initiatives that promote equality and inclusion.
  • Share success stories from diverse individuals using your products, highlighting how your brand supports and celebrates diversity.

4. Authenticity & Individuality

Gen Z craves authenticity. They value genuine connections and want brands to show real personalities because they appreciate transparency and honesty in a world full of curated images.

What To Do:

  • Share behind-the-scenes content through blog posts and videos. Show the human side of your brand by introducing your team and sharing their stories.
  • Offer customization options for your products, allowing Gen Z shoppers to express their individuality. For example, let them choose colors, styles, or add personal touches.
  • Send personalized messages like welcome emails that address Gen Z customers by name and acknowledge their preferences and past purchases.

5. Accessibility & Convenience

Gen Z expects quick, convenient transactions. They’re used to instant gratification and want everything to be seamless and easy because they have busy lives and limited patience for complicated processes.

What To Do:

  • Ensure fast checkouts by offering guest checkout options, multiple payment methods, and minimal form fields. Integrate digital wallets like Apple Pay and Google Wallet.
  • Provide automated delivery tracking updates via email or SMS so customers can easily monitor their orders.
  • Offer customer support across all platforms, including social media, chatbots, and email. Ensure quick response times to address any issues promptly.
  • Use their purchase history to offer tailored recommendations and special offers. For example, send personalized product suggestions based on their browsing and buying behavior.

How Is Gen Z Marketing Different?

How does connecting with Gen Zs differ from other audiences? Understand these 5 elements and pay close attention to what you can do with it.

1. Digital & Mobile Focus

If with traditional marketing you rely on TV ads and print media, with Gen Z you need to focus on digital and mobile platforms because they spend most of their time online, especially on their mobile devices.

How to Implement:

  • Build a strong presence on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat. Post daily and engage with your audience through comments and messages. Create engaging and shareable content like short videos, stories, and live streams and make sure to use the right media dimensions, especially for Facebook, Instagram, and Tiktok.
  • Optimize your website for mobile devices with a responsive design, quick load times, and easy navigation. Create a mobile app with features like personalized recommendations and easy checkout options.

2. Authentic & Relatable Content

If you use polished, professional advertisements with older generations, with the Gen Zs, focus on being authentic and relatable because they value genuine connections and can quickly detect insincerity.

How to Implement:

  • Share behind-the-scenes content and employee stories. Let your brand’s personality shine with demo videos or share a day-in-the-life content of your team.
  • Encourage customers to create and share content featuring your products (UGCs). Repost their content and create hashtags for your campaigns to make it easy for users to share and find content.

3. Interactive & Engaging Experiences

If with traditional marketing you broadcast messages to your audience, with Gen Zs, you need to create interactive and engaging experiences because they prefer to interact with brands rather than passively consume content.

How to Implement:

  • Use polls, quizzes, and challenges on social media. For example, create interactive posts that prompt users to comment or share their opinions.
  • Host live streaming sessions on Instagram Live or TikTok Live. Interact with your audience in real-time through Q&As, product demos, or behind-the-scenes tours to build a sense of community and real-time engagement.
  • Organize contests that move users to participate like sharing a post, creating content, or tagging friends. For instance, run a photo contest where users post pictures with your product using a specific hashtag.

4. Values-Driven Marketing

If with other generations you highlight product features and benefits, with Gen Z you should emphasize your brand’s values and social responsibility because they are highly motivated by social, environmental, and ethical issues.

Unlike earlier generations like Baby Boomers and Gen Xers, who prioritize product benefits and technical specifications, Gen Z values eco-friendly products. A great example of catering to the needs of Gen X is this medical safety device brand, which focuses on function and specs. 

If they were to appeal to Gen Z, they could highlight environmentally safe materials used in the product and sustainable practices. 

How to Implement:

  • Communicate your brand’s commitment to sustainability, diversity, and social justice. For instance, share your efforts to reduce your carbon footprint or support charitable causes through blog posts, social media, and your website.
  • Partner with influencers who share your brand’s values and have a strong connection with Gen Z. Choose influencers who are vocal about issues that align with your brand’s mission.
  • Develop campaigns that highlight your brand’s values and social impact. For example, create a campaign around Earth Day to promote your eco-friendly initiatives or support a social cause relevant to your audience.

5. Speed & Convenience

If with traditional marketing you can afford slower, more detailed processes, with Gen Z you need to provide speed and convenience because they are used to instant gratification and have little patience for complicated processes.

How to Implement:

  • Minimize the steps required to complete a purchase by offering guest checkout options and their preferred payment method, including digital wallets like Apple Pay and Google Wallet.
  • Offer quick customer support through chatbots, social media, or instant messaging. Respond promptly to inquiries and issues to enhance customer satisfaction. Implement live chat features on your website for immediate assistance.
  • Use data analytics to personalize marketing messages, product recommendations, and offers. For example, send personalized emails with product suggestions based on their past purchases or browsing history.
05 gen z customer behavior - personalization

05 gen z customer behavior – personalization

In a nutshell, here’s how Gen Zs differ from earlier generations:

Factor Gen Z Previous Generations
Platform Focus Spends most of their time online; optimize for mobile devices Rely on TV ads and print media; focus on traditional channels
Content Style Authentic and relatable; share behind-the-scenes content Polished and professional; use high-quality ads
Engagement Type Interactive and engaging; create polls and quizzes Broadcast messages; deliver one-way communication
Values Emphasis Sustainability and social issues; highlight eco-friendly practices Product features and benefits; focus on specifications
Process Expectation Instant gratification; streamline processes for speed Detailed and slower processes; provide comprehensive information
Mobile Optimization Essential for user experience; ensure responsive design Optional; may focus on desktop experience
Social Media Presence Highly active on Instagram and TikTok; post engaging content regularly Adapting to social media; keep a basic presence
User-Generated Content Encourage and share user content; create hashtags for campaigns Rarely used; rely on professional content
Live Engagements Frequent live streams and real-time interaction; host Q&As Infrequent; use scheduled broadcasts
Influencer Collaborations Partner with value-driven influencers; choose those aligned with brand values Celebrity endorsements; focus on star power
Customer Support Instant support via chatbots and social media; offer quick responses Traditional support through email and phone; standard response times
Personalization Highly personalized recommendations and offers; use data analytics Generalized approach; use broad marketing messages
Sustainability Communication Transparent and public; share reports on eco-friendly efforts Less emphasis on sustainability; occasional mentions
Checkout Process Streamlined and fast; minimize steps and offer multiple payment options Longer and more detailed; focus on comprehensive process


As you adapt your marketing strategies for Gen Z, keep this thought in mind: Focus on authenticity, speed, and social impact to make your brand relatable and valuable to this generation. How can you make every interaction seamless and genuine with Gen Z?

To strengthen your brand’s online presence and effectively engage with Gen Z, enhance your digital footprint with a unique and memorable domain. Explore our innovative domain options to set your brand apart and resonate with Gen Z’s digital-first mindset.

Author Bio:

Burkhard Berger

Burkhard Berger

Burkhard Berger is the founder of Novum™. He helps innovative B2B companies implement modern SEO strategies to scale their organic traffic to 1,000,000+ visitors per month. Curious about what your true traffic potential is?