The AR generation: Gen Z are driving the shift towards more immersive shopping experiences

A study from Snap reveals Gen Z’s guiding influence through the digital landscape and their desire to create meaningful connections. How can brands combine the two with immersive shopping experiences?

Research from Snap uncovers the trends that Gen Z are the leaders in shaping online culture. The global study of nearly 5,000 Gen Z carried out in partnership with Crowd DNA reveals what motivates Gen Z to engage with brands, what brands need to do to build deeper connections, and why brands need to embrace AR to remain relevant.  

Visual communication is key for Gen Z, with 92% in the UK survey stating that they use some form of visual communication when messaging friends. Three in five (60%) state that they use visual communication to get a more personal connection, while 50% say they use digital avatars and Bitmojis to express themselves.

The study also shows how Gen Z value close relationships. Nearly three in four agree that connecting with close friends is the simplest way for them to feel happier. 69% of UK Gen Z respondents actually plan on spending more time connecting in person than before the pandemic (vs 63% of Millennials and 59% of Gen X).

Digital natives leading the way to immersive shopping

As the ‘digital native’ generation, Gen Z are the driving force behind the shift towards more immersive shopping experiences, with 93% of those surveyed in the UK stating they are interested in using AR for shopping, with 88% interested in using AR to try on makeup or clothes. AR also enables brands to connect with Gen Z, increasing the personalisation of visual content. 60% in the survey say AR experiences feel more personal, and 63% state that AR will make life easier. 

Other key findings include:

  • 44% of Gen Z now feel it is more important for brands to build connections with them 

  • 80% of Gen Z are interested in using AR to enhance their entertainment experiences (vs 73% of Millennials and 65% of Gen X)

  • More than half (51%) of Gen Z say they are more likely to pay attention to an ad that incorporates AR

Social responsibility

Gen Z care about society and the environment, and the wider social impact of their lifestyles, with 66% of UK respondents stating they feel a responsibility to make the world a better place. 77% say issues around equality are important to them (vs 70% of Millennials and 61% of Gen X). 67% find value in taking action for the collective good and these respondents are three times more likely to want to use AR shopping tools to help reduce carbon emissions and their personal environmental impact.

Jo Tenzer, Head of EMEA Marketing Insights at Snapchat, comments: "A powerful theme emerging from the study is the particularly strong desire among Gen Z to create meaningful connections with people and brands. Brands need to respond to this by being open, honest and clear with their goals, motivations and values. With a desire to express their true selves creatively and visually, Gen Z are also seeking fun, personalised, immersive and social experiences. AR offers the tool for brands to seamlessly facilitate this by enhancing real world experiences."


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