Soul Zhang Lu Taps into User Base to Understand How Gen Z Shops and Spends

Fifteen years ago, Double Eleven was simply a “Single’s Day” celebrated across universities. But, over the years, it has blossomed into one of the most important shopping festivals of the year. In fact, given the significant participation of Gen Z in this consumer frenzy, it’s the perfect time to study emerging purchasing trends and buyer behaviors. And in November, Just So Soul Institute, the research arm of Soul Zhang Lu, conducted a survey to understand what youngsters across China intended to indulge in for Double Eleven.

Approximately 80% of Soul’s monthly active users are the Z-generation. So, Soul Zhang Lu was in a unique position to tap into the app’s user base to track the choices, decisions, and attitudes of youngsters who are by and large the primary consumers during Double Eleven. Based on the responses from well over 1700 participants, here are a few interesting trends that were noticed.

Conscious Consumerism Rises but the Enthusiasm of Younger Generation for Double Eleven Lives On

Contrary to the discussions on social platforms, the survey revealed that nearly 90% of the respondents actively participated in this year’s Double Eleven. So, interest in the shopping extravaganza certainly hasn’t waned.

Chances are that it will continue to soar in the near future, and this is based on the fact that nearly 36% of youngsters increased their budget for Double Eleven shopping this year, while another 36% spent at least as much as they did last year.

Nevertheless, in keeping with the realistic and pragmatic streak of Gen Z, the majority of the consumers (almost 80%) reigned in their desire to overindulge and stuck to the spending limit they had set for themselves.

Fewer than 17% of the consumers ended up busting through their budget and only about 21% shopped spontaneously without setting a budget first. Another interesting discovery made by the team of Soul Zhang Lu was that most youngsters showed notably savvy buying behavior.

The purchases were all rational and well thought out. In fact, over 43% of consumers started with a clear idea of what they wanted and even had a product-buying strategy in place before they began perusing through the offerings in the market.

Because product searches had a clear purpose, there was very little impulse buying as youngsters went for exactly the products they wanted. Moreover, almost 31% of youngsters took this buyer due diligence a step further and even compared product prices across channels and platforms before finally making the purchase.

What Did Gen Z Buy for Double Eleven, 2023? Distinct Inclinations to Experiential Services and Domestic Brands

While essentials such as skincare products, apparel, fashion accessories, shoes, and home and kitchen products continued to be popular, there was also a marked interest in experiential services.

Once again in keeping with the Gen Z consumer trend of favoring experiences as much as product possession, almost one-half of all buyers opted for products and services that were experience-based such as wellness services, health checkups, travel, and others.

This was particularly true of the post-95 cohort, with as many as 60% of them choosing to pamper themselves with travel-related services. Furthermore, nearly 24% of the post-00 generation spent more on travel-related purchases this year as compared to 2022. Also, overall, 20% of consumers increased their purchasing budget this year for this product/service category.

The trend clearly shows that Gen Z has a strong desire to look after themselves and enhance life quality above all else. In fact, this is a buyer preference that will likely continue and even grow stronger as this generation is moving into the 4th decade of life.

Another unmissable trend was the marked preference that youngsters showed for domestic products and services. Nearly 60% of the buyers chose to go domestic with their purchases chucking foreign brands in the process. This shift can be attributed to two factors:

  1. A sense of pride in the growing economic prowess of the country that motivated youngsters to be local and buy local.
  2. The clear and consistent development in the quality of domestic products as well as the growth of local brand strength and the recognition that they have begun to receive.

In other words, youngsters view domestic purchases as their chance to flaunt what their country has to offer while contributing to the overall economy and progress of the nation.

As far as product categories went, when choosing domestic offerings, women leaned towards skincare and beauty products, apparel, shoes, accessories, jewelry, food and beverages. On the other hand, men were more inclined towards outdoor living products, sports supplies, digital products, and shoes. 

In the weeks before Double Eleven, the social space was overrun by talk of how the shopping festival had lost its steam largely because Gen Z was in reverse consumption mode. However, the survey initiated by the team of Soul Zhang Lu proved that the chatter was not the complete picture.

So, for any retailer that caters to these demographics, the information gleaned from this survey is a rare opportunity to turn consumer behavior and sentiment into effective marketing strategies and sales opportunities. 

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