The impact of Gen Z’s attention span on ecommerce
8 seconds. That’s it.
You have 8 seconds to grab the attention of Gen Z before they lose interest and move on to something else more stimulating.
At 4 seconds shorter than their predecessors, the Millennials, the 8 second attention span of Gen Z is completely unsurprising considering their upbringing.
You may have heard the term “digital pioneers” being used to refer to Millennials. This is a fitting description for a group who witnessed the rise of smartphones, the internet, and social media first-hand. Millennials got to watch the world change as technology became integrated into every aspect of life. But, while Millennials experienced the world before, during, and after the tech takeover, Gen Z practically came out of the womb with an iPhone in their hands.
I can attest to this because I am Gen Z. Hi, I’m Sharon, and I was born in 2001.
I got my first cell phone when I was 8, my first iPod when I was 10, and my first laptop when I was 13. Technology has been around me my entire life and this is the same for most of Gen Z.
I remember one time when I was 12 and the Wi-Fi stopped working. I found my parents in front of a tangled pile of wires and boxes under our TV. My dad was staring the Wi-Fi router manual like it was written in hieroglyphics and my mom was ready to call our Wi-Fi provider. It took me a few seconds to pull out the router and hit the reset button at the back. That did the trick.
My parents thought I was a computer genius, but I didn’t really know what I was doing. I just assumed that was a logical step to take. If that didn’t work, I would have just Googled it until I found a solution.
This intuitive understanding of technology defines Gen Z. While Millennials are “digital pioneers”, Gen Z are “digital natives”. We are a generation born and raised with access to immediate answers. Gen Z has never known what it’s like to not to have the world’s biggest library of information in our pocket.
If all the knowledge in the world is instantly presented to you after a few taps on a screen, why wouldn’t you develop an intolerance for sluggishness?
The quality of your online store matters… a lot.
Plainly put, we just don’t have the patience or desire to sit through unnecessarily time-consuming situations… especially those that have to do with spending our money.
Our “need for speed” poses a challenge for marketers and ecommerce businesses who are now asking themselves: how do you get young people with the attention span of a goldfish to buy your stuff? The answer is simple: make it quick.
83% of Gen Z have high expectations from ecommerce stores and see online shopping as an experience. If that experience sucks, we have no issue abandoning the cart and going somewhere else. 63% of Gen Z say they don’t have patience for slow or poorly functioning websites and I’m one of them. There is nothing more irritating than trying to buy a product (that I probably don’t even need) but the website is lagging.
Besides wanting things done quickly, another thing about Gen Z is that we are broke. Most of us are just college students with loads of student debt who are still struggling with the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, inflation, and unaffordable housing.
These times of financial instability have caused us to be more frugal and selective about where we spend our money. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Gen Z loves a good discount. Luckily, lots of brands are offering student discounts. Our love for bargains plus our lack of patience means it’s now more important than ever for online stores to invest in a quick and easy checkout process.
Clunky check out processes, especially those that ask me to check my email or even worse, upload a picture of my student ID, always make me go back to my cart and reassess if the product is worth it. The time it takes to debate this is usually long enough for me to decide that isn’t worth it and close the tab. Cart. Abandoned.
Ecommerce brands must remember that you’re asking me to spend my (already scarce) money on your product; it is in your best interest to get me to check out as fast as possible before buyer’s remorse kicks in.