How Gen Zs are Leading the Social Commerce Wave

Apr 22, 2022

Industry Trends

How Gen Zs are Leading the Social Commerce Wave

A few years ago, researchers were desperately trying to figure out how they should market to millennials. Now, the spotlight has shifted to the first generation of truly digital natives: Generation Z. 

Gen Zs have grown up with the internet at their fingertips, and social media has been a constant throughout most of their lives. While many still consider Gen Zs to be the younger generation (some still are young), the oldest are now 26 and have access to their own disposable income. In addition to this, Gen Zs are now the largest generation globally, meaning they are soon to have the largest spending power. 

Let’s dive into how Gen Zs use social media and what they think about finances. 

Gen Z and social media

Growing up with the internet and social media, Gen Zs spend up to 8 hours per day online. This has resulted in many brands opting to use social media as their main marketing channel to engage the Gen Z audience. 

Gen Z uses social media to find inspiration, discover and research products, and create deeper connections with their favourite brands. Influencers have a very large influence over their purchasing decisions, as do customer reviews—82% of Gen Z said that peer reviews were extremely important to them when shopping online. 

Gen Z and social media

Influencer marketing is arguably the most influential social media marketing method for Gen Zs, with 65% having made a purchase directly following an influencer’s recommendation. 

TikTok has been confirmed as Gen Z’s favourite social media platform, taking over Snapchat and Instagram—Facebook and Twitter aren’t really in the running here. The average TikTok user opens the platform 19 times per day, and Gen Z users spend an average of 90 minutes per day on TikTok. 

Gen Z and finance 

Imagen InsightsBrutally Honest Gen Z Report revealed that money and finances are Gen Z’s biggest concern for the year. Despite this, Gen Z’s spending power is standing around £245 billion—and that’s not including the influence younger Gen Zs have on their parents. This is expected to grow to £25 trillion by 2030 as all of Gen Z enter the workforce. 

As of 2021, 57% of Gen Zs have a preference for mobile payments. Piper Sandler’s semi-annual survey revealed that Apple Pay is now Gen Z’s preferred mobile payment platform, taking over Venmo, PayPal and CashApp. 

Gen Z and Finance

Another popular payment method with Gen Z is buy now, pay later (BNPL). In the UK, 75% of BNPL users are aged between 18 and 36. BNPL is particularly popular with those Gen Zs who are just starting out in their careers, and don’t have access to a large amount of disposable income.

Gen Z and social commerce

If you put social media and finance together, you get the growing purchasing channel, social commerce. Social commerce is where social platforms offer their own purchasing channels, so users are able to buy products within the app itself. Almost all social platforms now offer some form of social commerce, but TikTok is leading the charge. 

TikTok commerce

TikTok has completely changed the way people discover and purchase products. Social commerce has been a trend for a while, but it didn’t pick up its current level of popularity until TikTok came along. 

The adoption of social commerce is a combination of the popularity of TikTok and Gen Z’s preference for mobile payments. The hashtag #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt has over 11 billion views, and has been the driving force behind beauty, food and book sales. 

Tiktok Commerce

TikTok offers brands, influencers and consumers different commerce methods to choose from. Brands and influencers can tag products within their TikToks with a TikTok basket, and within TikTok Lives, hosts can list all products mentioned within the basket, and pin products currently being spoken about on the screen.  

Within TikTok Shop, users have access to full product details, shipping choices, returns information, and even an in-app customer service representative. 

In addition to this, L’Oreal UK and Ireland has just launched a #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt campaign, which will offer UK users the chance to purchase creator-endorsed product selection boxes directly within the app, combining the buying power of TikTok and the influence of creators.

Shopify integrations 

To further enhance social commerce activities, Shopify has created Linkpop, a platform designed to help creators sell products directly from their Linkpop page. Linkpop allows creators and Shopify merchants to include important links on their Shopify page and launch storefronts, where they can sell directly to their audiences on the platforms they focus on. 

Shopify integrations

Linkpop includes built-in analytics tools that merchants can use to understand how customers engage with their page. They can view metrics such as link clicks and unique visitors. 

As merchants and creators continue to engage their audiences across different platforms, Linkpop offers them a central location across all touch-points. Linkpop users put their Linkpop page in their social profile biographies, meaning audience members from different platforms will have access to a merchant’s store. 

The development of this platform recognises the power social media has when it comes to purchasing decisions. 

Livestream shopping

Livestream shopping has become incredibly popular over the past couple of years. Although it is booming in China, the West has been slower to adopt the shopping channel. 

Livestream selling—also known as live commerce—allows brands to sell items directly to customers through a live broadcasted video that’s supported with audience participation through messenger and chat tools and ordering functionality. 

Live commerce streams are often hosted by an employee ambassador or celebrities and influencers. Live commerce is a natural progression of traditional TV shopping channels—following the gradual takeover social media has had over television. 

Many platforms offer their own forms of live commerce (TikTok has the most developed), but other online retailers have developed their own live commerce platforms, such as Amazon with Amazon Live. 

For Gen Z, livestream shopping has grown in popularity. Not only does it provide them with a practical demonstration of the products, but allows them to receive immediate answers and recommendations from hosts—something that is incredibly important in their purchasing decisions. As of 2021, around 40% of Gen Z are open to making purchases through live commerce. 

The future of social commerce

As Gen Z continues to age, join the workforce and earn disposable incomes, we anticipate that social commerce will continue to grow into a seamless purchasing experience, through from discovery to purchase to customer service. 

Social commerce presents Gen Z with an incredibly easy purchasing journey—something that is incredibly important in their buying decision. Many Gen Z will cancel a purchase order if the checkout is complicated, but with everything within one location, the days of confusing checkouts are behind us. 

China has proven that social commerce can be (and is) a huge success, and the West is slowly catching up. As social platforms continue to develop their commerce capabilities, we dare to say social commerce could become the go-to purchasing channel. 

Our Influencer marketing agency and Social agency are located worldwide, with our agency network based in the USA, UK, UAE and China.

If you want to receive our industry insights, visit our Influencer Marketing & Social Media blog.

@ Socially Powerful



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James Hacking


Socially Powerful, founded in 2017, stood as pioneers of the influencer marketing industry. Today we are a global social marketing agency and technology company.

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