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The New Consumer (March-April 2024)

Recent research explores the hard-to-ignore Gen Z consumers — from how they feel about clean labels to how they search and more.

Gen Z is a unique demographic and more multicultural compared to previous generations. They grew up in the age of the internet and social media. Many understand AI and the problems facing their future, like climate change and social issues, and their behavior as consumers is shaped by the reality and cultures they’ve grown up with. 

Clean-Label Sentiment 

While the majority of consumers think clean labels are important, Gen Z (along with Millennials) are the strongest advocates. Gen Zers plan to buy more of these products in the future, support more legislation and want retailers to provide these products and define what “clean” means. 

According to Acosta Group’s 2024 Clean Label Insights study focused on the food/beverages category, some notable stats include:

  • 55% of shoppers (72% of Gen Z) believe more regulations are needed.
  • Gen Z and Millennials particularly value natural or certified organic products.
  • Younger consumers primarily cite health benefits as the driving force to these products.
  • 70% of all shoppers want retailers to help them understand clean label products.

In terms of clean beauty/personal care products, Ulta’s latest ESG report (2022) indicated that:

  • Over 50% of Gen Z look closely at ingredients prior to making a purchase.
  • 90% of Gen Z and younger Millennials are interested in purchasing clean beauty products in the future.

Preferred Search Engine

Gen Z consumers are also leading another pivotal shift. According to a U.S. consumer study from marketing platform SOCi Inc., traditional search engines like Google and Bing no longer reign supreme among this age demographic. Instead: 

  • 67% of Gen Zers (or in this study’s case, 18- to 24-year-olds) favor Instagram.
  • 62% favor TikTok.
  • 61% favor Google Search, which is still the undisputed search engine champ for older generations.

Other Interesting Gen Z Trends/Stats 

  • 58% of Gen Z in the U.S. begin their online product searches on Amazon and 43% start on, according to a February 2023 Jungle Scout survey.
  • One in three Gen Zers have bought from an influencer-founded brand in the past year, according to eMarketer.
  • Nearly a third of Gen Zers bought or planned to buy their 2023 holiday gifts on TikTok Shops, per CivicScience research.
  • 67% of Gen Z find brand purpose important or critically important to maintaining brand loyalty, according to Marigold’s 2024 Consumer Trends Index.
  • 52% of Gen Zers in the U.S. and U.K. say they are likely to switch retailers for checkout-free stores, according to 2023 research from Avery Dennison.
  • That same study found that 49% say they would likely spend more at a retailer with a connected or automated checkout experience.
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