Gen Z is swinging their influence yet again—this time in how they shop, ultimately affecting—and reshaping—the in-store shopping experience. But there’s no one-size-fits-all to this phenomenon. In fact, one study reveals four key Gen Z personas driving this behavior.

“Gen Z has grown up and many are now independent consumers, but savvy retailers understand that they don’t all think, act and shop the same way,” said Melissa Gonzalez, a Principal at MG2/The Lionesque Group, who co-conducted the study. “The nuances are fascinating. As a digital-first generation, Gen Z are natural omnichannel shoppers, but the group is multidimensional in terms of the different ways they prefer to engage with brands and products.”

Gonzalez, along with survey partner Berns Communication Group, unveiled survey findings on what motivates Gen Z to shop during the second annual Retail Influencer CEO Forum in New York Tuesday.

The report identifies four main Gen Z shopping personas:

  1. Happily Detached: Digitally savvy but wary of spending endless time on social media. Receptive to tech but have high expectations of how it performs and what it delivers.
  2. Resilient Achiever: Pragmatic, with a strong desire for information, demonstrations and knowing what is innovative or on trend.
  3. New Perfect: Radically accept themselves and their passions. Attracted to messaging around well-being and strong brand values.
  4. Ethical Advocate: Attracted to brands with equitable practices that support conscious habits. Desire accessibility and sustainability.

To conduct the survey, MG2/The Lionesque Group reached out to more than 1,000 Gen Z respondents ages 18 to 26 years old in the United States, alongside discussions with members of Bern Communication Group’s Gen Z thought network, The Z Suite. Also on board was a 20-person panel from Lionesque’s own staff of 450 employees. While Gen Zers are currently ages 9 to 26, only registered adults 18 or older were polled.

Other key survey findings showed that Gen Z expects brands to meet them online and in-store with fluidity, and they desire consistency in brand messaging and customer experience, regardless of platform or environment. They also value and seek out alternative brand experiences not only to feature on social media, but also to further educate and immerse themselves in a brand’s world. Gen Z wants to be part of the narrative and to engage with brands in unexpected ways.

Additional key findings include:

  • Nearly one-third of Gen Z respondents prefer messaging in-store that reflects a brand’s values, with sustainability ranked most important.
  • More than 50% of respondents value self-checkout.
  • Wellness is a leading factor for roughly one-third of Gen Zers who primarily shop in-store.
  • Personalized and highly interactive experiences are attractive, with almost 50% of respondents stating a key driver for engaging with alternative experiences is the opportunity to connect with a brand’s community.

To read the full survey report, click here.