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Gen Z to Drive Social Buying into Double Digits This Holiday

New shopping channels will help Gen Z push social buying to double digits, or 37 percent to be exact.

A Salesforce study said that nearly one in 10 digital purchases occur on emerging digital purchase points, which include social media, messaging platforms and voice-enabled devices. And Gen Z is 3.5 times more likely than baby boomers to use the new emerging channels.

The study expects that social buying will creep into the double digits this holiday season. And in fact, 27 percent of Gen Z respondents said that “Instagram will be their preferred source for holiday shopping inspiration,” which could have significant implications for the select brands testing the platform’s shopping features. Another alternative channel that’s rising in popularity is the gaming platform, where one in four millennials and Gen Zers said they have an interest in transacting.

In general, even though this holiday season is abbreviated by six days versus the average, Salesforce is predicting a record $136 billion in U.S. online sales and $768 billion globally.

Mobile is expected to dominate digital holiday sales, accounting for 70 percent of e-commerce traffic and 52 percent of orders places. But with six fewer days to shop this year, more retailers will see early-bird shopping on the Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving, representing 19 percent year-over-year growth in global digital revenue. Black Friday’s digital revenue is forecasted to reach $7.3 billion in the U.S. and $39.6 billion globally, while Cyber Monday’s sales will bring in an additional $8.2 billion in the U.S. and $32.2 billion globally.

Cyber Monday will reign as the best day for digital discounts, with the average discount rate expected at 29 percent. Moreover, 47 percent of shoppers said they will only buy items on sale this holiday season. And two thirds said they will pay more attention to companies’ emails during the holidays to score a good deal via a sale or promotional code.

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According to Salesforce, early shoppers will more likely explore the new channels–voice-enabled devices, messaging platforms and social media–to gain inspiration and make purchases. And it expects social to be a strong channel for Cyber Week mobile buyers, with 10 percent of those purchases referred directly from social channels on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

The global CRM firm cited Dec. 14 as the Christmas shipping deadline, noting that retailers that have the buy online and pick up in-store option (BOPIS) will be able to drive revenue growth in the shorter selling season. That’s because the option “extends the digital purchasing and shopping window well after the shipping deadline,” Salesforce concluded, explaining further that BOPIS will enable retailers to drive 28 percent more revenue share during the five days before Christmas.

The Salesforce study analyzed aggregated data from the activity of more than half a billion global shoppers across more than 30 countries powered by Commerce Cloud, billions of consumer engagements and millions of public social media conversations through Marketing Cloud, and customer service data powered by Service Cloud.