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Brands Could Lose Fickle Gen Zers Over Poor Digital Experiences, Survey Finds

Editor Note: 

We at Vibes have spoken about the importance of building trust pre- and post-purchase. Trust is especially important for Gen Z consumers, who are more likely to leave a brand after a poor digital shopping experience. 

Mobile helps create seamless digital experiences Gen Z and others will appreciate and love. To learn more, download our newest guide, How Mobile Helps Simplify Your Digital Transformation. 


Dive Brief: 

  • Brands are vulnerable to losing younger consumers who are less tolerant of poor digital shopping experiences and will quickly move on from brands. Eighty percent of Gen Zers said they're more willing to try new brands online than before the pandemic, while 57% said they're less loyal to brands than before the crisis, digital experience management software company Sitecore found in a study.
  • More than one-third (38%) of Gen Zers say they allow a brand just one second chance to fix a mistake before switching to a rival. About three quarters (74%) of survey respondents said they'll find another retailer if an online store is out of stock, while 37% have abandoned a purchase or posted a negative review because of a poor digital shopping experience.
  • Gen Z has become more sophisticated about e-commerce since the beginning of the pandemic, before which 31% of the group had never bought anything online. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of Gen Z said they want to keep buying almost everything online, which could have ramifications for brands and their direct-to-consumer and e-commerce strategies. 

Dive Insight:

Gen Z is known for being "digital natives" who were born after the internet was commercialized and who grew up using smartphones, making them fluent in messaging, social media and other apps. As they reach adulthood, gain spending power and start shopping online, they're demanding instant gratification from their digital experiences. Retailers and brands need to make a good and lasting impression on Gen Zers, or risk losing them to competitors, Sitecore's study suggests.

Sixty-three percent of younger consumers said they find online shopping to be more enjoyable than in-person, making digital platforms an essential part of a branded experience. After the health crisis began, 87% of Gen Z said their online shopping skills have improved, with 26% saying they had used a mobile device to make a purchase for the first time, the survey found. With a large percentage of Gen Z wanting to keep buying almost everything online, shopping is more associated with using an app or website than setting foot in a store, the study suggests.

"Brands can't ignore the power of poor digital experiences when it comes to Gen Z and its shopping habits," Paige O'Neill, chief marketing officer of Sitecore, said in a statement. "This group has quickly shifted its significant spending power online, and pressure will continue to mount on retailers until they can deliver an experience that delights."

Eighty-three percent of Gen Zers said they view online shopping as an experience rather than a mere transaction. They have high expectations, with three quarters wanting new and exciting experiences when they shop online. Seventy-one percent of respondents want the experience to be personalized, and 76% said their favorite brands should reward them for their business, the survey found.

Gen Z also expects fast service, with 80% saying retailers that can deliver in fewer than 24 hours are more appealing. More than a third (37%) said free delivery was the most important consideration for shopping online. Gen Z also wants websites that work well on mobile devices (53%), remember users' shopping preferences (46%) and offer personalized suggestions (43%) on products, the study found.

Sitecore's research was conducted by Advanis, and is based on a survey of more than 1,000 Gen Z consumers, aged 18 to 24, in the U.S. The study was conducted from March 31 to April 7.

This article was written by Robert Williams from Retail Dive and was legally licensed through the Industry Dive publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to