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Gen Z consumers are shopping online at higher rates than other generations, and choosing to start product searches on TikTok over Google.
Those are a couple of takeaways from a new report on consumer trends issued this week by ecommerce seller platform Jungle Scout.
When it comes to Gen Z consumers, the report found the following:
Daily digital: 32% of Gen Z consumers shop online at least once daily. That’s compared to 25% of millennials, 15% of Gen X and 7% of baby boomers.
Starting at TikTok: 43% of Gen Z consumers start product searches on TikTok. That’s a higher share than those that start searches on Google. In the overall population, a majority of consumers still start product searches on Amazon.
Secondhand savings: 42% of Gen Z consumers purchased a resale item in the last year. Gen Z is the most likely generation to shop secondhand items online to save money.
The report highlights how Gen Z appears to be more digitally inclined, and willing to embrace emerging shopping modes, whether that is a social media platform or category like resale. At the same time, it underscores the generational variation in consumer behavior.
Gen Z seems to be putting the lowest priority on saving money, despite wider anxiety about the economy during this period of high inflation. The report found that baby boomers are 78% more likely than Gen Z to purchase items on sale. Boomers are also the most likely to use credit cards that have perks allowing them to save money.
Meanwhile, 56% of Gen X and 43% of millennials are cutting back on purchases in the fun or impulse category to save money. Among Gen Z consumers, the share of those pulling back is 37%.
“In the world of ecommerce, one size does not fit all,” says Michael Scheschuk, President of Small & Medium Business at Jungle Scout. “Businesses must understand each generation’s unique values, preferences, and behaviors to create tailored strategies. As the youngest and newest cohort of shoppers, Gen Z offers invaluable insights into the current and future trends shaping retail.”A note on spending: When it comes to overall commerce spending, data from Jungle Scout shows that spending ticked up in the first quarter, though more spend is being directed toward essentials. Consumers bought more groceries, cleaning supplies and supplements, while cutting back on discretionary items such as electronics, clothing and home goods.
Trending in Economy
Labor disputes on the West Coast could cause further disruption heading into peak season.
When the first half of 2023 is complete, imports are expected to dip 22% below last year.
That’s according to new data from the Global Port Tracker, which is compiled monthly by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates.
The decline has been building over the entire year, as imports dipped in the winter. With the spring, volume started to rebound. In April, the major ports handled 1.78 million Twenty-Foot Equivalent Units. That was an increase of 9.6% from March. Still it was a decline of 21.3% year over year – reflecting the record cargo hauled in over the spike in consumer demand of 2021 and the inventory glut 2022.
In 2023, consumer spending is remaining resilient with in a strong job market, despite the collision of inflation and interest rates. The economy remains different from pre-pandemic days, but shipping volumes are beginning to once again resemble the time before COVID-19.
“Economists and shipping lines increasingly wonder why the decline in container import demand is so much at odds with continuous growth in consumer demand,” said Hackett Associates Founder Ben Hackett, in a statement. “Import container shipments have returned the pre-pandemic levels seen in 2019 and appear likely to stay there for a while.”
Retailers and logistics professionals alike are looking to the second half of the year for a potential upswing. Peak shipping season occurs in the summer, which is in preparation for peak shopping season over the holidays.
Yet disruption could occur on the West Coast if labor issues can’t be settled. This week, ports from Los Angeles to Seattle reported closures and slowdowns as ongoing union disputes boil over, CNBC reported. NRF called on the Biden administration to intervene.
“Cargo volume is lower than last year but retailers are entering the busiest shipping season of the year bringing in holiday merchandise. The last thing retailers and other shippers need is ongoing disruption at the ports,” aid NRF Vice President for Supply Chain and Customs Policy Jonathan Gold said. “If labor and management can’t reach agreement and operate smoothly and efficiently, retailers will have no choice but to continue to take their cargo to East Coast and Gulf Coast gateways. We continue to urge the administration to step in and help the parties reach an agreement and end the disruptions so operations can return to normal. We’ve had enough unavoidable supply chain issues the past two years. This is not the time for one that can be avoided.”