Research & Insights – September 2023

Gen Z: A Deeper Look At 4 Key Personas And How They Are Shaping The In-store Experience 

As Gen Z has grown up and become independent consumers, we examine how this shift in mindset informs their preferences, expectations, and spending habits, highlighting where brands and retailers should focus their attention and investments to best resonate with this digitally fluent, omnipresent generation.

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Gen Z is digital first however they seamlessly blend worlds, expecting brands to fluidly meet them online and offline because that is all they have known. By bridging online engagement with physical retail experiences that apply both purposeful and playful technologies in-store, brands and retailers can elevate the shopping experience while maintaining the convenience and efficiency Gen Z has come to expect. In this survey, we seek to better understand this generation and investigate their preferences and motivations for shopping in-store, enabling us to bring forward opportunities for future retail store design that incorporate experiences that not only resonate with the consumer’s values, but celebrate their individuality and desire to be a part of the brand story digitally and physically.

Key Takeaway

Gen Z consumers know what they want and they know what matters to them. They may be ever changing however their motivations are central to who they are. This generation values authenticity and transparency and knowing a brand’s story is only one part of what drives their sense of connectivity. They expect brands to meet them online and in-store with fluidity, and desire continuity as it relates to brand messaging and customer experience, regardless of the platform or environment. They value and seek out alternative brand experiences not only to feature on social media, but as a way to further educate themselves and immerse themselves in a brand’s world. Gen Z wants to be a part of the narrative and they want to engage with brands in unexpected ways.

It’s really important for brands to push out messaging that actually aligns with their brand values and is demonstrated through the action they take in the community. It can feel very inauthentic when brands promote body positivity when they have 0 body diversity within their models online. – Sierra Mar Elia, Z Suite Member

For me, it’s in the visual space. Like if something looks really, really cool inside, whether it’s a display or just artwork, not even the product, I’m really curious to see what that is. – Tyra Mitchell, Z Suite Member

For me it’s the people that make the space so I love going into a store that has really nice store associates in there. It invites you to be curious about what’s inside, and then you can maybe take in the art they have in there, the different colors. It allows you to be a consumer if the people make the space. – Lindsey Hyams, Z Suite Member

Highsnobiety did the Cafe de Flore thing and when I was in Paris I was like I have to go see this cafe, why did they do this fashion pop-up? Those crossovers are really cool. Made me a fan of the clothing brands and who they are working with. So these experiential things really speak to me. – James Turco, Z Suite Member

I don’t like that Artizia has the mirror that you have to walk outside of the dressing room to get to, it can be very intimidating. It hasn’t stopped me from shopping there, but it definitely has stopped me from trying things on there so I think that has curved my experience a little bit. And making sure the dressing rooms are not super tight and feeling claustrophobic because it can be emotional trying on clothes sometimes. – Emma Fortuna, Z Suite Member

Shopping in a place that is a subtle luxury, not overly flashy with TV screens and those kind of things is appealing to me. – Alec Beers, Z Suite Member

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