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Gen Z and Millennials want to shop on international DTC brands rather than marketplaces

The majority of Gen Z (60%) and Millennial (63%) shoppers prefer buying directly from international ecommerce brands rather than on marketplace platforms, according to the latest research by ESW, the leading DTC ecommerce solution provider. 

Three quarters (73%) of Millennials and 69% of Gen Z shoppers surveyed believe that shopping via direct-to-consumer (DTC) channels gives them a more personalised experience, with offers and promotions targeted specifically toward their preferences, compared to 63% of Gen X and 50% of Baby Boomers.

ESW’s “Global Voices: Consumer Pulse 2022” survey of more than 14,000 consumers across fourteen countries reveals the trend towards the youngest consumers shopping for products outside their home market continues.  To date in 2022, Gen Z shoppers (51%) are inching ahead of Millennials (50%) as the demographic with the highest percentage of cross-border shoppers across all categories. 

Demographically, the countries with the highest numbers of cross-border shoppers – UAE (66%), China (60%) and South Korea (57%) – also had the highest number of younger shoppers – indicative of the latent purchasing potential of Gen Z shoppers.  

However, Millennials have retained their rank as the highest volume cross-border consumers, with 17% making 11 or more international purchases a year followed closely by Gen Z (15%) and some distance ahead of Gen X (7%) and Baby Boomers (5%).  

“For the third year in a row our data has shown the younger the consumer, the more likely it is that they shop cross-border, making international ecommerce strategy an absolute necessity for retailers and brands targeting these cohorts,” says Natashia Redfern, Director of Sales, ESW. 

“Additionally, younger consumers’ shopping preferences indicate that retailers and brands must adopt a robust DTC ecommerce and content strategy to remain both relevant and competitive in the future.  Our data reveals that 78% of Millennials and 74% of Gen Zers enjoy a greater experience when shopping on a brands’ own website, while only 69% of Gen X and 60% of Baby Boomers feel the same,” Redfern adds.

The survey further reveals that Gen Z and Millennial shoppers have a greater degree of trust for online retailers located outside of their home country, about 30% higher than Gen X and two times that of Baby Boomers.  54% of Gen Zers and 56% of Millennials say that it’s irrelevant to them whether an online retailer is located overseas or not.  While younger consumers shop across borders twice as often as Gen X and three times as often as Boomers, more than 25% of all consumers who shop internationally online do so because the product was unavailable through local retailers.

While social media remains the dominant channel for product discovery, in-store ranks third for discovery, highlighting the ongoing importance of an omnichannel strategy and multichannel capabilities.  On average Gen Z and Millennial consumers use three social media platforms for product discovery, falling to two for Gen X shoppers and just one channel for Baby Boomers.  The data also reveals a direct correlation between the number of social channels used and the number of times consumers purchased online.  Respondents who make more than eleven online purchases annually access on average three social media channels, while those making fewer than 10 purchases annually are active on two social channels. 

Amongst younger Gen Z consumers, the top three social media platforms for product discovery are Instagram (52%), YouTube (51%), and TikTok (43%).  Facebook is less important to the Gen Z consumer, with only 34% using the platform for product discovery.  Millennials’ top three social media channels are YouTube (46%), Facebook (45%), and Instagram (44%).  TikTok is less important to Millennials, with just 32% using it for product discovery. 

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