Millennials and Gen Z prefer shopping DTC with international brands over marketplace platforms

The majority of Gen Z, 60%, and millennial, 63%, consumers prefer buying directly from international ecommerce brands over marketplace platforms, according to a new report from ecommerce solution provider ESW.

The research reveals that 73% of millennials and 69% of Gen Z shoppers believe that shopping via direct-to-consumer (DTC) channels gives them a more personalised experience, with offers and promotions targeted specifically toward their preferences, compared to 63% of Gen X and 50% of Baby Boomers.

Demographically, the countries with the highest numbers of cross-border shoppers – UAE, 66%, China, 60%, and South Korea, 57%, also had the highest number of younger shoppers – indicative of the latent purchasing potential of Gen Z shoppers.

However, Millennials have retained their rank as the highest volume cross-border consumers, with 17% making 11 or more international purchases a year followed closely by Gen Z, 15%, and some distance ahead of Gen X, 7%, and Baby Boomers, 5%.

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While social media remains the dominant channel for product discovery, in-store ranks third for discovery, highlighting the ongoing importance of an omnichannel strategy.

On average Gen Z and Millennial consumers use three social media platforms for product discovery, falling to two for Gen X shoppers and just one channel for Baby Boomers. The data also reveals a direct correlation between the number of social channels used and the number of times consumers purchased online.

Amongst younger Gen Z consumers, the top three social media platforms for product discovery are Instagram, 52%, YouTube, 51%, and TikTok, 43%. Facebook is less important to the Gen Z consumer, with only 34% using the platform for product discovery.

However, millennials’ top three social media channels are YouTube, 46%, Facebook, 45%, and Instagram, 44%. TikTok is less impactful to millennials, with just 32% using it for product discovery.

“For the third year in a row our data has shown the younger the consumer, the more likely it is that they shop cross-border, making international ecommerce strategy an absolute necessity for retailers and brands targeting these cohorts,” commented ESW director of sales Natashia Redfern said.

“Additionally, younger consumers’ shopping preferences indicate that retailers and brands must adopt a robust DTC ecommerce and content strategy to remain both relevant and competitive in the future.”



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