How Gen Z Shops: Why They Buy & What They Love

Empty Nest Blessed by Suzy Mighell
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My two lovely assistants – Natalie (right) and Casey

Ya’ll have heard me go on and on about how much I adore my nearly 24-year-old assistant, Natalie! She is as introverted as I am extroverted, as calm as I am high-strung, and as quiet as I am loud. She is such a good balance for me, and she’s a huge help to me on a daily basis. Also, it doesn’t hurt that she’s the same age as my own daughter! I can (and do!) ask her all kinds of questions about her generation, and her insight has been a tremendous blessing!

Earlier this year, we worked together on a post called, “What Your 20-Something Wants to Tell You and Needs to Hear From You.” So many of you told me you found it helpful, and that thrilled us both! In that post, Natalie and her friends, along with a few of my younger friends, agreed to share some very personal details of what their lives are like on a daily basis, including what they struggle with, what they wish their parents would help them with, and how they really feel about the tech that has always been a defining part of their lives. It’s powerful stuff, and if you haven’t read it yet, I highly recommend it! You can read it HERE.

One of my favorite things about writing Empty Nest Blessed is that I get an opportunity to educate you (and myself!) about how we can best relate to our adult kids. Gaining first-hand insight helps us as we seek to parent, encourage, and bless them while they move into adulthood.

I asked Natalie to write this post in order to give us insight into her generation. As you’ll see, the characteristics of Gen Z bear out in their shopping habits as well as in all of the other areas of their lives! After Natalie finished the post, I went in and bolded the characteristics of her generation that were present throughout her writing. I hope you’ll find that insightful.

Hi, I’m Natalie! Whether you’re here because you want to keep your style young and fresh, you’re shopping for a younger loved one, or even if you just want to wrap your head around how Gen Z shops and what makes us tick, I hope you find this post helpful and entertaining!

One characteristic of Gen Z is wanting things immediately. Life seems to move a lot quicker than it did for our parents and to keep up with the crowd we often make impulse decisions. We switch jobs more frequently, we get everything on-demand from social media to entertainment, to responses via electronic communication, all the way down to our diet – which is much higher in on-the-go, processed foods than that of our parents. So how has this quick-fix mentality and obsession with social media translated to our shopping habits? In many ways!

How Gen Z Shops: A Word On Trends

One of the perks (or drawbacks – depending on how you look at it!) of social media is that new styles and trends circulate FAST. Have no fear of not knowing what is IN right now because one glimpse of your Instagram feed will tell you all you need to know.

Many brands have capitalized on this trend and mass-produce low-quality, trendy pieces at a cheap price — something now being called fast fashion. (If you’ve heard of companies like FashionNova or Shein, then you know what I’m talking about. They also use highly edited and unrealistic photos of models to promote their clothes on Instagram, as well as paying millennial influencers to promote the clothes nonstop.

Although these brands seemed to be a hit at first, the unethical production practices and low-quality clothing items have been gaining exposure as of late. Because many young adults are ethically conscious and also aware of their social image, most end up choosing to shop from companies that are ethical and sustainable.

How Gen Z Shops: What Influences Our Style

Outside of ethics, social media has greatly influenced our tastes and preferences when it comes to clothing. So much of the allure behind “the gram” is projecting your best self this most likely means an image of someone who can afford luxury items, travel, stay active, and keep up with the times. Designer brands, such as Louis Vuitton and Gucci have taken young adults by storm. Being able to “flex” with a Gucci belt or slides seems to be all the rage right now for women and men. Also big: Wearing athleisure (AKA activewear) in an everyday way. Nike, Puma, Adidas, and Gymshark are all college kids wear on campus.

We do value high-quality and ethical brands, but we love to show off an expensive logo! That said, we’re still young and don’t usually have the budget to shop for all of these items. Gifting a young adult a designer item will probably make their whole year(!), but if we’re shopping for ourselves, we usually opt for a combination of affordable and in-style. We also love anything that is great quality and looks like it was a splurge, even if we saved on it.

How Gen Z Shops: What’s In

Neutrals

Nautical Colors

Sustainable Brands

Designers

Activewear

Timeless/Vintage

Nordstrom Anniversary Sale logo

How Gen Z Shops: Natalie’s Nordstrom Anniversary Sale Pics

Click on any item in the collages below to shop for yourself or your favorite Gen Z’er!

Name Brand Athleisure

Affordable Activewear

Outerwear

Shoes

Accessories

Want to learn more about Gen Z? Check out these posts:

For more insider tips and tricks on how to shop the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, click HERE. Big thanks to Natalie for her willingness to open up, be honest and vulnerable, and share insight into her generation. I’m so blessed to have her on my team and in my life!

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Suzy Mighell

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One Comment

  1. Natalie is adorable! I feel young and hip just reading this. One interesting thing I’ve noticed is how our kids dress our grandbabies. I noticed Natalie listed neutrals as a favorite, and I rarely see babies in anything other than very muted colors. Our generation had girls in cotton candy pink and boys in bright blue, but now it’s neutrals with maybe some very pale blush or muted blue. Still just as precious!

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