‘Visual’ Gen Z driving shift towards immersive shopping experiences

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New research from social media platform Snap has revealed the trends that Gen Z are leading in shaping online culture, with ‘visual’ comms leading the way. 

The global study of nearly 5,000 Gen Z carried out in partnership with Crowd DNA reveals what motivates Gen Z to engage with brands, what brands need to do to build deeper connections, and why brands need to embrace AR to remain relevant.

‘Visual’ communications

Visual communication is key for Gen Z, with 92% in the UK survey stating that they use some form of visual communication when messaging friends. 

Three in five state that they use visual communication to get a more personal connection, while 50% say they use digital avatars and Bitmojis to express themselves.

Visual Gen Z snapchat survey
Visual Gen Z: Image is important in communications in the social media age.

The study also showed the extent to which Gen Z value close relationships. Nearly 3 in 4 agree that connecting with close friends is the simplest way for them to feel happier. 

Some 69% of UK Gen Z respondents actually plan on spending more time connecting in person than before the pandemic (vs 63% of Millennials and 59% of Gen X).

As the true ‘digital native’ generation, Gen Z are the driving force behind the shift towards more immersive shopping experiences, with 93% of those surveyed in the UK stating they are interested in using Augmented Reality for shopping, and 88% interested in using AR to try on makeup or clothes. 

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Augmented consumers: Gen Z embracing AR in their buying experiences.

AR also enables brands to connect with Gen Z, increasing the personalisation of visual content. 

Snap said that 60% in the survey say AR experiences feel more personal, and 63% state that AR will make life easier. 

Other key findings include:

  • 44% of Gen Z now feel it is more important for brands to build connections with them
  • 80% of Gen Z are interested in using AR to enhance their entertainment experiences (vs 73% of Millennials and 65% of Gen X)
  • More than half (51%) of Gen Z say they are more likely to pay attention to an ad that incorporates AT
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Brand connections: Gen Z want their favourite brands to build personal connections to them.

Gen Z also care deeply about society and the environment, and the wider social impact of their lifestyles, with 66% of UK respondents stating they feel a responsibility to make the world a better place. 

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A better world: Gen Z feels their actions and choices can improve life on earth.

Moreover, 77% say issues around equality are important to them (vs 70% of Millennials and 61% of Gen X). 67% find value in taking action for the collective good and these respondents are three times more likely to want to use AR shopping tools to help reduce carbon emissions and their personal environmental impact.

Jo Tenzer, Head of EMEA Marketing Insights at Snapchat, said: “This global study of 5000 is a true barometer of how Gen Z are feeling and communicating.

“A powerful theme emerging from the study is the particularly strong desire among Gen Z to create meaningful connections with people and brands. 

“Brands need to respond to this by being open, honest and clear with their goals, motivations and values.

“With a desire to express their true selves creatively and visually, Gen Z are also seeking fun, personalised, immersive and social experiences. AR offers the tool for brands to seamlessly facilitate this by enhancing real world experiences.”