HONG KONG: Brands and retailers wishing to connect with China’s young consumers must recognise that they belong to a highly tech-savvy generation that, more than older age groups, use social media as a gateway for shopping.

Up to 70% of Chinese Gen Z consumers – or those born after 1995 – say they prefer to buy products directly via social media compared to a global average of 44%, according to Accenture, the professional services firm.

As reported by the South China Morning Post, Accenture polled 10,000 consumers across 13 markets, including 1,000 in China, and found Gen Z consumers more reliant on social media for shopping than even millennials.

For example, while social media also matters to millennials, a smaller proportion (58%) of Chinese consumers born between 1990 and 1995 say they prefer to use social media for shopping.

Gen Z in China is also more likely to demand speedy delivery of their purchases, with about a third (34%) requiring same-day shipping, while another 27% want instant delivery within two hours or half a day.

Only a fifth (22%) say they would be satisfied with next day delivery, compared with 34% of younger millennials (those born between 1990 and 1995) and 41% of older millennials (born 1980 to 1990).

Elsewhere, Accenture found that 31% of Gen Z consumers in China cite social media as a popular source for product inspiration, while 58% say they have increased their use of social media for purchase decision-making over the past year.

One-third also say they prefer video and livestreaming sites as routes for bargain hunting, compared with just 12% of consumers aged between 23 to 28 and 8% of those in their 30s, China Daily reported.

Also important for retailers to note, the survey found that 40% of Chinese Gen Z consumers prefer to search information directly from brands’ own websites rather than third-party platforms – a percentage significantly higher than millennials.

And another 31% say they prefer brick-and-mortar stores but rely on digital aids, such as chat tools and social media reviews, to facilitate their purchases.

“Generation Z values the shopping experience over the utilities of merchandise per se,” observed Koh Yew Hong, head of Accenture Asia Pacific’s retail practice. “Omni-channel sales are therefore critical to harness that trend.”

Data sourced from South China Morning Post, China Daily; additional content by WARC staff