Generational Payment Report Shows Gen Z “Stan” eCommerce Adoption, Subscriptions, and Alternative Payment Methods

Worldpay Content Team

A lot has been said about Gen Z. They are the youngest and first truly native digital generation — the only generation in today’s digital-first world for whom mobile communication, social platforms, and always-on access to anything at any time from anywhere is the norm.

You may think you know Gen Z — and have ideas about what they want and the best way to attract them to your businesses — but there is more to acquiring and retaining Gen-Z customers than just the products or services you offer. How Gen-Z consumers shop, checkout, and pay can have almost as much of an impact on their current and future engagement with your offerings. So if you want to attract Gen-Zers (aka Zoomers) and build brand loyalty, digging into generational global payment preferences and trends is critical.

A recent global survey from Worldpay from FIS looking at generational payment trends across regions uncovered some actionable insights about Gen Z purchasing preferences (as well as preferences across generations). Here are some of the core findings about our youngest cohort.


Gen Z Opts for Subscriptions, for Sustainability and Brand Connection

Gen Z has shot down many of the stereotypes that swirl around them: in actuality, they don’t all have short attention spans nor are they all addicted to technology!

But some stereotypes are borne out by the data. For example, it’s widely believed that Zoomers expect a lot (some even say “too much”) from brands and companies they interact with — and apparently this one is true, to such a level that 71% of Zoomers would even be willing to boycott a company they believe to be behaving unethically.

One of the issues that matters to Gen Z is sustainability. This drive for sustainability has led many Zoomers to have an affinity for subscriptions which, by definition, are a more sustainable business model: less stuff, more access to that stuff on an as-needed basis — and better for the environment as well as for your bank account! Zuora calls this trend from “The End of Ownership.”

According to a recent Harris End of Ownership Survey, use of subscription services is growing with 78% of those surveyed having subscription services, and 75% believing that in the future people will subscribe to more services and own less physical stuff.

Subscriptions also increase brand connection: 64% of people surveyed in the End of Ownership survey feel more connected to companies with which they have a direct subscription experience as compared to companies whose products are purchased on a single-transaction basis.

For these reasons — and more — subscriptions continue to rise in popularity for Gen Z (and across generational divides, too). Digital content in particular has become ubiquitous among Gen Z with 4 in 5 (84%) subscribing to at least one type of digital content — and with over 53% having at least one digital music subscription. Online gaming services are also gaining popularity, with 39% of Gen Z having at least one subscription, according to the Worldpay report.

Since this generation has grown up experiencing content on digital platforms, they are happy to opt for digital subscriptions, but with the competition stiff for Zoomer eyeballs and dollars, businesses need to not only ensure that they are providing quality content, but that they are providing an exceptional subscriber experience, which includes allowing for diverse payment options to make for a frictionless purchase.


Gen Z Early Adopters for eCommerce Innovation

While every generation obviously wants the ability to select their choice payment method at checkout, what makes for a seamless and fast payment experience for Zoomers? The use of mobile payments on a regular basis is on the increase, with this generation: 56% find it easier to use. And alternative payment methods are growing too, with 52% of online purchases made with a digital wallet.

In general, Gen Z are more positive about ecommerce innovation and new technology, which is why they are our generational tech trendsetters. This openness to new tech is why this generation will be more likely to become early adopters of payment trends like in-car payment integration, with 49% showing interest in how these innovative solutions develop.

Merchants who implement mobile payment acceptance can expect widespread adoption, as long as there is education on how to use it at checkout.


Gen Z Has at Least One Thing in Common with Boomers: They Want Seamless Consumer Experiences

From Gen Z to Boomers (and beyond!), every generation has its own preferences for shopping and paying. And meeting these preferences can have a significant impact not just on individual purchases, but on ongoing loyalty, as evidenced by recurring revenue. Digging into generational payment trends can help businesses to provide seamless consumer experiences for customers of all ages.