Gen Z
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Gen Z Shopping Habits of Today To Shape Fintech Success of Tomorrow

To achieve growth past 2030, businesses must start to understand Gen Z living, shopping and financial habits now, and accept that they are very different from previous generations.

Today’s consumers aged between 16 and 24 have never known life without the internet and smartphones, and they’re the largest population group on earth; accounting for almost 2.5 billion people.

To shed some light on the financial habits of Gen Z, the payments platform Thunes has conducted a study into their shopping, social, and payment preferences. It interviewed 6,500 people between the ages of 16 and 24 from 13 developed and emerging countries.

Gen Z and social media

The study highlighted the prevalence of Gen Z social media users; a demographic with more users than any other generation.

“We knew that social media would be a key part of a Zoomer’s daily life, but what our survey helped to reveal is the extent to which they are driving spending activity in this demographic,” comments Thunes CEO Peter De Caluwe.

Unsurprisingly, eight out of 10 use social media on multiple occasions throughout the day. Three-quarters also check in multiple times each day, exposing themselves to new emerging markets, with two-thirds stating that they have purchased products they first discovered online.

Not only is social media where Gen Z spend their money but increasingly where they are making it too, with a growing range of content monetisation options offered by most of the mainstream channels.

In this light, a concentrated focus on social media marketing will become a deciding factor in successful business ventures of the future.

As the world moves online, social media, content and entertainment platforms, payment providers, and consumer brands looking to capitalise on Gen Z’s online spending habits must consider all the factors above.

Gen Z will be influenced first, not by price or even range or scarcity, but by their social circles, brand engagement online, and trendy, convenient, trustworthy payment options.

Gen Z, mobile wallets and money management

Gen Z aren’t relating to the services of bank accounts or credit cards anymore, and the data suggests that 62 per cent of them don’t even have a bank account at all.

In their place, mobile wallets continue to become increasingly normal, being the main preference among half of the demographic in emerging markets.

A fifth spend more money shopping online than they do on socialising, eating out and entertainment.

In terms of how they’re paying for things, about a quarter of Gen Z’ers in western markets almost exclusively pay by digital means.

In developing regions, cash remains king offline, but the data puts forward that its influence is in steady decline; something that has been exacerbated by the wider choice and accessibility of digital tools.

Mobile wallets are gaining traction, particularly in emerging markets where bank accounts have been historically difficult to access and financial exclusion is widespread.

Mobile providers have led a digital payments revolution in Asia, while in Africa, the major telecoms providers have offered similar digital payments solutions.

Thunes CEO Peter De Caluwe
Peter De Caluwe

“To many, Gen Z is a misunderstood and overlooked generation. This is a generation to which ‘dial-up’ and ‘desktop’ are meaningless words and who don’t just think ‘mobile-first’, but live and breathe in apps, social media, digital platforms and soon – the metaverse,” continues De Caluwe.

“We should start to take this generation seriously as the revenues and strategic plans of many businesses – especially those that are relying on fast growth – are dependent on them.

“Failure to recognise the imminent influence of the digitally native Zoomer could result in a once perfectly shoppable brand witnessing slipping sales.”


  • Tyler is a fintech journalist with specific interests in online banking and emerging AI technologies. He began his career writing with a plethora of national and international publications.

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