30 Statistics on Gen Z Spending Habits [2022]

Many belonging to Generation Z (those born between about 1997 and 2012) might still be too young to be employed and spend their own hard-earned money. However, they still have a huge impact on the buying decisions of their households. Forbes reports that almost a third of Americans between the ages of 18 and 25 are still living at home with their parents or other family members. 

Considering the power they already sway, marketing teams have devoted a lot of time to get to know this younger generation better and identify the fundamental differences across generations. We’ve scoured the web and summed up some of the most interesting Gen Z statistics in this blog post.

Statistics on Gen Z Spending Habits [2022]:

30 Stats on Gen Z and Their Spending Habits

1. A 5th of the US Population Belong to Generation Z

So, just how many Gen Zers are there? According to data shared by Statista, in 2021, there were 68.6 million Gen Zers in the United States. They’re currently the third biggest generational group and account for 20.7% of the US population. So, considering that they make up a big percentage, you’ll want to continue reading to get to know them and what makes them tick better. 

2. About a Third Identify as Democrat in the US

Nearly a third (31%) of registered Gen Z voters in the United States identified as or leaned towards the Democrats. The majority, though, identified as independent, while fewer sided with the Republican party. While they might not have the biggest percentage of Democrats when compared to older generations, they do have the smallest group of Republicans. 

3. They Have $360 Billion in Disposable Income

The spending power of Gen Z is on the increase. In 2022, Business Insider, estimated their spending power at over $140 billion. Though, a Bloomberg report of 2021 has revealed that this young generation currently has $360 billion in disposable income, more than double what was estimated three years ago. 

Where does all this money come from? 

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics and Gen Z Planet, they generate about $229 billion annually just in wages made via full-time employment. The hustle culture is very much alive among this group and with the help of side gigs they generate about $40 billion per year, while part-time employment accounts for about $70 billion per year and allowances for $57 billion per year.

4. Half Freelance

Gen Z freelance statistics

Source: statista.com

While many Gen Zs are still too young to be formally employed, a survey completed in 2020 revealed that 50% of the Gen Zers between the ages of 18 and 22 that participated in the study worked on a freelance basis. It was the highest across all generational groups. To put this into perspective, only 44% of millennials freelance, while only about a third of Generation Xers freelance. 

Since the study was completed in 2020, a lot of things have changed in the world of work and many more Gen Zers have also entered the workforce. So, it would be interesting to follow this number…

5. They Save About a Third of Their Income

While Gen Zers have billions in disposable income, it can be difficult to get them to spend their money as they’re regarded as thrifty consumers. One of the reasons why they’re known as thrifty spenders is because they save about a third of their income on average, according to a Bloomberg report. 

What’s more, about 25% of them already own stocks thanks to a mobile app like Robinhood, while 14% are already busy investing in retirement accounts.

6. About 21% Plan to Buy a Home Before June 2022

In addition to saving a significant chunk, one in five Gen Zers are considering investing in property. A survey completed among more than 13,000 US participants revealed that more or less 21% of the Gen Z generation had plans to buy a home before June 2022. To put this into perspective, in Q3 2019 only about 11% indicated that they were planning to purchase a home. Also, as of Q2 2021, the average for all adults who had such aspirations was only 17%. So, compared to other adults, Gen Z is more keen to enter the housing market soon. Yet, in 2021, only 2% of home buyers in the US were from Generation Z. 

On the other hand, another survey completed in September 2020, revealed that 7% of Gen Z don’t plan to own a home ever. 

For the other 93% interested in becoming homeowners (eventually), the most popular type of home is a detached single-family home. At least 80% of Gen Zers (and millennials) that have purchased a home invested in this type of property. 

The main reason for wanting to buy a home was to have a place for their family to grow in. Other reasons included to acquire more space (19%), to gain outdoor space (9%), and to save money on payments (17%).

7. They Planned to Spend the Least During the Festive Season

Planned expenditure on the holiday season

Source: statista.com

Not only do they focus on saving, but when it comes to spending during the festive season, a season that’s well-known for thrivelous expenditure, they also plan to spend less than other generations. According to online data shared by Statista, in 2021, Generation Z in the US planned to spend $1,154 US dollars during the festive season. It might be lower than the other generations, but it’s still a sizable amount considering that many are only in their teens.

8. Only 15% Are Avid Sports Fans

A survey completed in March 2022 revealed that only 15% of Gen Z participants identified as avid sports fans. To put this into perspective, 25% of millennials viewed themselves as avid sports fanatics, nearly double as many.

9. Social Media Has a Powerful Impact (Yet They’re Aware of the Dangers)

When it comes to shopping, social media can have a very powerful impact. A survey revealed that nearly 80% of Gen Z and millennial shoppers have bought a product that they’ve seen in their social media feed. What’s more, about half of Gen Z shoppers in the US and across the world feel that social platforms are better for finding out about new products than online searches. 

That said, they’re also the generation that’s more inclined to think that social media has a negative impact on social well-being. A global survey completed in 2021 revealed that the younger generations were more aware of the potential negative impact of social media on our well-being, with 36% of Gen Z feeling that it can be harmful. Yet, of all the generations, they spend the most time on social media, averaging three hours per day which is nearly double the global average.

10. They View Newspapers as the Most Trustworthy

A survey completed at the beginning of 2022 has revealed that nearly 60% of Gen Z participants trust newspapers, even though online news outlets were more popular. Social media was the news source that they trusted the least, followed by podcasts, and cable news networks. Yet, half still use social media as a news source daily. On the other hand, only 5% read the newspaper daily.

11. 90% Are Interested in AR

Of all the generations, Gen Z shoppers are the most interested in exploring augmented reality (AR) shopping experiences. A survey completed at the beginning of 2022 showed that more than 90% of Gen Z participants were interested in using AR to see what a furniture piece will look like in their home.

12. Gen Z Is Most Interested in Metaverse Activities

A global survey completed at the beginning of 2022 revealed that Gen Z (and millennials) were the age groups that were the most interested in metaverse activities. Socializing with friends and playing games were identified as the most popular experiences, while nearly 40% of Gen Z participants indicated that they would be interested in attending a virtual concert of one of their favorite musicians.

13. It’s Not All About Online Shopping

Surprisingly, Gen Z (and millennials) shopped about equal amounts online and offline each week, according to a survey completed in 2021. So, if your target audience is Gen Z, it’s key that you promote across multiple channels and instead of concentrating solely on online shopping.

14. Online Presentation More Important Than How You Present Yourself In Person

While Gen Z still likes to shop in-store as well, a Squarespace survey revealed that most (60%) believe that how you present yourself online carries more weight than how you present yourself in person. In fact, nearly 60% of Gen Zers believe that it’s easier for them to remember the color of a website than what it is to recall the color of a person’s eyes. This means that it’s key that stores ensure they have a well-designed website and solid online presence.

15. Gen Zers Willing to Pay 5% More for Fast Delivery

When shopping online, Gen Z shoppers are willing to pay on average 5% more than the value of their order if it means that it will be delivered in two hours, according to a survey completed in 2021. All in all, younger digital buyers were more willing to pay extra for faster delivery.

16. 40% of Female Gen Zers Shop for Clothing Twice a Month

A survey completed in 2022 revealed that 40% of female Gen Z shoppers shopped for clothing once or twice per month. Considering that most US females from this group preferred to buy clothing online, it makes sense why they can shop for apparel so frequently. 

That said, while they might shop more often, Gen Z (and millennial men) spend more on clothing and shoes than females.

17. Gender Identity Less Likely to Impact Fashion Choices

Younger generations are more likely to buy gender-neutral clothing, according to a survey completed in 2022 among US consumers. In fact, the vast majority (85%) of Gen Zers that participated in this survey indicated that they were thinking about buying more gender-fluid fashion items. Of all the generations, they were also the most likely to have bought apparel that didn't fall into their gender identity category. And, no, the main reason wasn’t to make a social statement. Instead, their purchase choices were driven by comfort, with more than 60% revealing that this motivated them to buy clothing outside their gender identity.

18. Almost 25% Have at Least One Tattoo

Share of Americans with tattoos

Source: statista.com

Recent surveys completed in the US revealed that 23% of Gen Z had one or more tattoos as of 2021. Of this 23%, 4% had only one while 19% had multiple tattoos. To put this into perspective, 41% of millennials had at least one tattoo, while 32% of Generation X had one or more.

19. Preferred Travel Accommodation Is Nothing Fancy

Somewhat surprisingly is that the preferred travel accommodation of Gen Z users across the globe is nothing to write home about. A global survey completed in July 2022 revealed that most travelers from this age group (35%) preferred to stay in a three-star standard hotel, motel, or condominium. A quarter indicated that they preferred staying with friends or relatives.

20. Gen Z Spend the Most on Their Pets

A survey completed in August 2021 has revealed that in the United States, Gen Z pet owners spent the most on their pets. While millennials are the group that spent the second most on their pets, they represented the biggest share of pet owners in the US (32%). 

One thing, though, that Gen Zers are the least likely to buy for their pets is a CBD product. While recreational cannabis use was high among this generation, they were far less likely than millennials to give their pets CBD products, according to a survey completed in Q1 2021.

21. More Than a Third Believe It’s Too Late for Action on Climate Change

While Gen Z focuses a lot more on sustainability, more than a third believe it’s already too late for action on climate change, according to a 2021 survey. Other younger generations also shared this attitude.

22. Gen Z Are More Willing to Buy Secondhand

Seeing that Generation Z consumers are more aware of the impact that their buying behavior has on the environment, they’re also the generation that’s more willing to purchase secondhand apparel. In 2021, 42% of Gen Z (and millennial) consumers indicated that they were likely to shop for secondhand items.

23. About 7% Follow a Vegan Diet

A survey completed between July 2021 and June 2022 found that about 7% of US citizens aged between 18 and 19 identified as vegans. To put this into perspective, only about 4% of participants in their 40s were following vegan diets. In the US, beef-style alternative burgers are the most popular plant-based meats by far. 

Somewhat surprisingly is that the most popular source of meal inspiration among Gen Z (and millennial) consumers was family recipes. While they might be tech-driven, it looks like they can still make sense of handwritten notes. After family recipes, 38% get their inspiration from recipe websites or apps and if that fails it’s back to hardcopy notes, but this time recipe books.

24. More Than Half Cook Every Day

A global consumer survey about food and nutrition choices that was completed in the US in 2021 revealed that more than 50% of young cooks cook a meal every day of the week. That said, the Deloitte Global 2021 Millennials and Gen Z Survey also found that 44% feel that they’ll eat out more often at restaurants after the pandemic.

25. Netflix Is the Most Popular Among Gen Z

As of August 2021, Generation Z was the most likely to have a Netflix subscription in the US. Nearly 80% stated that they subscribed to Netflix. To put this into perspective, only 49% of baby boomers were subscribers.

26. Nike Is Their Favorite Brand

In a study completed in 2021 about favorite brands, products, and services, about 20% of Generation Z indicated that Nike was their overall favorite. In second spot it was Apple (15%), while Amazon was in third place (9%). 

Nike, Apple, and Amazon were also the top three favorite brands for millennials. Though, Apple and Amazon were favored above Nike by this generation group. 

Other brands that are loved by Gen Zers are Vans, Gucci, and Adidas. According to Interbrand, 60% of Gucci’s sales were coming from this generation.

27. They Hold Brands to a Higher Standard

Generation Z buying decisions

There’s a much bigger emphasis on sustainability and value, among Generation Z. At the end of the day, they really analyze their spending habits. For example, the Deloitte Global 2021 Millennials and Gen Z Survey found that over 25% of Gen Zers admitted that the impact on the environment caused by certain businesses has affected their buying decisions. Another study also revealed that as of 2021, 79% of Gen Zers were willing to pay more for clean energy.  

While green practices play a key role in their purchasing decisions, they still place an importance on customer service. In a survey completed in the US at the beginning of 2021, poor customer service was one of the main reasons why Gen Zers lost trust in a brand. 

28. Female Gen Z Shoppers More Interested in Loyalty Programs

In Great Britain, female shoppers are more likely to belong to a type of loyalty program. Only 41% of Generation Z men in Great Britain are part of a loyalty program. 

29. Gen Z Most Likely to Use BNPL

A survey completed in 2021 has found that Gen Z digital buyers were the most likely to use Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL). In 2021, it was predicted that nearly 37% used this type of payment service, compared to only about 30% of millennials.

30. More Than 50% Have Donated to Charities

gen z social welfare

Generation Z doesn’t care just about enjoying rewards for themselves, but also about the welfare of others. According to the Deloitte Global 2021 Millennials and Gen Z Survey, 52% have donated to charities in the past two years. Other popular ways that they’ve taken action to drive the change they want to see in the world include raising money for charity by sponsorship (36%) and by means of volunteering (40%).

Frequently Asked Questions

How big is Generation Z in the US?

According to data shared by Statista, in 2020 there were 67.06 million Gen Zers in the United States. They accounted for 20.35% of the US population. As of 2020, Generation Z was the third biggest generational group. Millennials were the biggest (21.93%), while the baby boomers (21.45%) were the second biggest generation group.

Do Gen Zers still shop at traditional stores?

Yes, it might come as a bit of a surprise but Generation Z is actually shifting more toward brick-and-mortar stores, especially for clothing. From Instagram to department stores to pop-up shops to convenience store chains to specialty stores, they actually shop via multiple formats, a podcast episode of the McKinsey Podcast revealed. Basically, Gen Zers will often browse online, but go to the physical store to purchase the products as they want to enjoy the in-person customer experience too.

Does Generation Z listen to influencers?

A survey revealed that about 80% of Gen Z shoppers have bought a product that they’ve seen in their social media feed. What’s more, about 54% of Gen Z shoppers in the US feel that social platforms are better for finding out about new products than online searches, while in the UK specifically, Gen Zers were more than twice as likely to purchase an item because of influencer marketing. So, influencer marketing can be very powerful, especially to advertise apparel, beauty and make-up products.

Which eCommerce retail website does Gen Z prefer: Amazon, eBay or Walmart?

Amazon is the most-used eCommerce retail website. The vast majority (about 75%) of Generation Z preferred Amazon over other sites like eBay and Walmart. That being said, in 2020, Generation Z was the only group that spent less money on Amazon during Cyber Weekend. While it was only marginal (a decrease of 2.5%), all the other generations spent more on the platform in 2020.

What is Generation Z’s favorite brand?

A study completed in 2021 about favorite brands, products, and services, revealed that Nike was Generation Z’s top brand. Other popular brands included Apple and Amazon. They also liked Vans, Gucci, and Adidas. In fact, 60% of Gucci’s sales were generated by Gen Zers, according to Interbrand.

All in all, they were more likely to buy apparel, beauty and make-up products because of brands’ posts or influencers’ content on social media. 

In fact, a survey revealed that in the UK specifically, Gen Zers were more than twice as likely to purchase an item because of influencer marketing. Also, advertising doesn’t bother them as much as other generations as long as they’re getting something free in return.   

As of 2020, Snapchat was the most popular social media platform among them, followed by TikTok. YouTube was in third spot.

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