Black Friday shopping — on Instagram? Gen Z going non-traditional this holiday season

NEW YORK — Gen Z plans on ditching shopping websites for their holiday shopping this year, opting for alternatives like Pinterest and TikTok.

A new study reveals two-thirds (66%) have turned to non-traditional ways of spending over the last year — a trend likely to continue into the festive period and beyond. Seven in 10 (68%) plan to use non-traditional channels for Black Friday and Christmas shopping, with Instagram (47%) taking the lead as a holiday shopping platform.

Facebook (40%), Amazon Alexa (35%), Pinterest (32%), and TikTok (29%) will also be popular — as will livestream shopping (25%). The trend isn’t limited to younger adults: 45 percent of those in their 30s intend to use similar ways of spending during their Christmas and Black Friday sprees too.

Commissioned by Brightpearl.com, a retail operating system for some of the world’s biggest brands and retailers, the study found why these ‘alternative’ methods have become increasingly appealing to shoppers of all ages. Half prefer new social buying channels and livestream as they combine entertainment and shopping in the same way traditional malls do.

Similarly, 46 percent of Americans think they are better because they can interact and socialize with their friends more easily while they enjoy a spending spree. Despite new ways to buy rapidly emerging for this holiday season, the study finds very few businesses are set up to facilitate non-traditional ways of shopping.

How are retailers adapting to next-gen shopping habits?

A study of 200 retailers, also by Brightpearl, found low adoption for new discovery and selling channels, including TikTok (12%), YouTube (24%), and livestream spending (15%). This could be detrimental to their profit margins because half of consumers have decided against purchasing goods and services from a retailer that didn’t offer new ways to buy.

“In the pre-internet age, retailers gradually realized shopping can be a form of entertainment, and a wider social activity, which is not only fun for consumers but also results in more sales,” says Brightpearl.com spokesman Nick Shaw, in a statement. “As such, traditional stores made more effort to make shopping ‘an experience’ — a form of leisure. The ‘new normal’ for commerce this Holiday season and beyond is now likely to be framed by many non-traditional ways of shopping, which provides a huge choice to consumers and retailers.”

Cash in longer king during the holidays

The study also discovered that it’s not just where consumers are shopping online which is changing — shoppers appear to be paying for their purchases in different ways too.
While credit (51%) and debit cards (47%) remain popular, they aren’t the number one choice: that title goes to PayPal (58%). The likes of Amazon Pay (32%), Google Pay (29%), and Apple Pay (26%) are also popular this year too. Shopify (19%) and Klarna (16%) also made the list.

However, many retailers don’t offer these payment methods. For instance, of those polled, three in four retailers (77%) aren’t set up for Shopify and 58 percent don’t allow consumers to pay through Amazon.

“We really are at the beginning of a new trend — things are changing quickly in the world of online shopping. It is inevitable that more and more shoppers will buy and spend online in a variety of ways — especially as we approach Christmas and Black Friday. Unfortunately, many retailers will miss out because they aren’t set up to quickly add the new selling channels or payment methods that their customers now prefer,” Shaw adds.