In August, I had the pleasure to conduct two focus groups with 24 kids ranging from 17 and 18 years old. This session was held in Mexico City, in an international private school, only affordable for affluent families.
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I hosted had a 2-hour in-depth discussion about fashion and shopping, to better understand how kids experience fashion. This was very valuable, because this ‘Generation Z‘ demographic is often hard to predict or understand for organizations, as their behavior and needs are thought to differ so much from Millennials (or older generations).

Some of the most important outcomes of that session are listed below.

Online, offline & luxury

Online shopping is a very popular. They do this mostly: to save time, when a product is not available offline or because they can find a wider collection online, than offline. However, it’s important they know which product they are getting – either because they saw/tried on the product in-store already, or because they know the brand (and product) very well (e.g. many boys knew exactly which Adidas sizes they have).

When they shop online, it’s mostly at brands like NordstromSupremeAdidasRevolve and Farfetch. Of course they shop at other brands as well, but these brands/stores came up as favorite ones.

Luxury for them means: high quality products, really having the feeling you’re wearing something that lasts. Next to that, luxury is mostly a feeling of being part of a select, exclusive group (e.g. the ‘Supreme hype’), but in a very introvert way. Screaming, big logos are not cool: introvert luxury is what really is appreciated.

However, they still go to physical stores because of the experience (just like Netflix will never completely replace the old-fashioned cinema). It’s an afternoon out with friends of family (parents), allowing them to try out clothes, touch materials and see what’s new. The boys were more ‘calculated’ in this journey, as they pointed out they would try out many different shoes or jeans, after which they would find the best price or offering online. Another reason for in-store shopping was the fact they sometimes don’t trust shipping or want instant gratification from their purchase, and don’t buy online for both those reasons. The hassle of return is closely linked to that.

In terms of using social media, they summed it up as follows (order of popularity):

  1. WhatsApp – ‘formal’ and verbal communication with other people
  2. Snapchat – informal, funny moments, visual communication with both people and companies
  3. Instagram – for brands, influencers and companies and for inspiration
  4. Facebook – hardly used, mostly for things like news, for game access, checking photos or finding parties

Also, most people use the direct product link on Instagram to get to a filled shopping basket faster, taking away the hurdle of going to the actual website.

Collabs, influencers & Experiences

The future of fashion is still defined by influencers, collaborations, and local adaptations. Most kids think the future will hold more of this – and it’s what they like! Offering more instant gratification is another thing that is mentioned often: ‘what am I getting now?” Lastly, the physical experience of the store will not disappear: enjoying the shopping and exploration moment with friends or family will always have a place in their lives, the kids think.

“When I order something expensive online, I check and refresh my order every 10 minutes because I didn’t get my gratification from my purchase. It’s delayed pleasure and that makes me anxious.”

Different, but not that different

focus group like the one conducted here is an awesome way to get to deep knowledge or insights about a certain user group. It helps understand them, in order for an organization to make decisions based on their context, needs and desires. Furthermore, I believe most outcomes won’t really shock you, in terms of how radical they are from millennials or other generations, but that’s a good thing! Apparently this youth is not so radically different as we might have feared 😉