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Influencers and celebrities’ effect on Gen Z’s shopping habits is fading, and friends may have a greater impact.

India’s Gen Z are 50% more likely to buy products based on a friend’s recommendation than that of an influencer or a celebrity endorsement. This indicates a shift in the perception of content creators and their ‘influence’ on the demographic cohort that also forms one of the largest audience groups on most social media and content platforms.

In its Not all Gen Z report, Yuvaa–a youth media, insights and impact company–exclusively shared this and other findings with ReTale on the behaviour and ideologies of the generation born between 1997 and 2012.

According to the report, 71% of Gen Z shoppers from India prefer brands that are environment-friendly, owing to their hyper awareness and concern for climate change, while 63% like to shop from brands that support a social cause. Retail experts note that Gen Zers expect brands to create sustainable products but don’t like to pay the additional cost for it.

Close to 77% of Gen Z shoppers are price-conscious buyers, as per the report. This also explains their role in popularising the thrifting culture-the trend of buying used goods, often from a shop that specialises in second-hand products.

Gen Z are the DIY (do it yourself) generation, said Dhatri Bhatt, founder of D’Altair Marcom, an integrated marketing agency.

“They like to be unique, inclusive, and socially aware citizens,” she said. “They also realise that a large part of what influencers put out is monetised so they can’t completely trust them and therefore need a close friend to validate some of their purchases.”

At over 2 billion, Gen Z forms roughly 25% of the global population. It makes up around 35% of India’s population, as per Yuvaa. The survey of 900 Gen Z participants from about 20 cities across tier 1, 2, and 3 India revealed consumption behaviour and expectations that may have got several brands to redefine products and marketing strategies in recent times.

“You’ll notice major apparel brands have a separate Gen Z section that is price sensitive, focuses on latest trends, and has sustainability as a key communication theme,” said Bhatt, who has worked in the marketing and communication verticals of brands like Nykaa Fashion, Christian Dior, and H&M.

In May, Myntra launched FWD, a section on the retail app with weekly trend drops “to bring Gen Z their latest drip.” That’s a Gen Z word for a trendy look or style.

Gen Z is “the defining voice on fashion and beauty–be it embracing Barbiecore or making everything Insta-worthy, hence they play a big influence in how we are shaping our initiatives,” said Vijay Sharma, senior director of marketing, Myntra.

The survey findings about trust in friends over influencers for shopping seem to reflect the behaviour of “networks typically found in more affluent circles, where there is a wider collective exposure to different interests and domains,” noted Abhimanyu Radhakrishnan, managing director at Qyuki Digital Media, a creator management and monetisation company that runs e-commerce product businesses of a few of its creators like Faisal Shaikh and Madhura Bachal.

“We are seeing that people outside the elite consumer band tend to get most of their expertise-based information for the first time from influencers. They tend to believe influencers because of this notion that their tier 3 and rural towns are cocoons while the real world is out there and the influencer is showing it to them,” he added. Radhakrishnan pointed out how the rapid rise of finfluencers (finance and trading influencers) hinged on this very phenomenon. “People from smaller towns were more inclined to trust finfluencers instead of turning to family and friends for advice as they are perceived to be financially illiterate because they bank on fixed deposits, physical gold and other traditional investment avenues.”

Besides shopping, the Yuvaa report also provides insights on the Gen Z thought process in areas such as sex education, mental health and loneliness that aim to dispel certain gender-related stereotypes.

According to the report, 71% of Gen Z men want better safety features on dating apps. Gen Z men, in general, are twice as likely to feel lonely because of their gender than women, the report added.

When it comes to their watchlist, 70% of Gen Z place a good trailer above factors such as cast and marketing to decide whether to watch a movie or show. Gen Z women are 10% more interested in thrillers than in romcoms, the report further said.



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