Why Gen Z Is Shaping Luxury, Not the Other Way Around

Gen Z (and Millennials) will make up nearly half the international luxury fashion market by 2025. They’re replacing luxury’s Gen X-ers. and Baby Boomers. And as the Millennial Mindset in fashion approaches its organic end, Gen Z specifically fills the gap accounting for 85% of luxury growth.

Gen Z is taking Gen Y’s slow fashion to a whole new level, and they’re running with it. They’re video shopping with HERO®-backed luxury brands like Harvey Nichols. They’re requiring sustainable practices. And they go beyond asking brands to be social — they’re telling brands to get political.

It’s time to get to know Gen Z and uncover what’s behind their long list of demands, and how they’re shaping the luxury world.

LUXURY MEETS DIGITAL MINDS

Generation Z is the first generation in history to grow up with the internet at their fingertips from the very start. Gen Z has never known the world without it. It’s certainly not shocking then that Gen Z is accustomed to certain lifestyle luxuries because of the internet.

Before social media, celebrities weren’t as accessible. We didn’t get to know our reality star socialites off-screen. We never scrolled through luxury fashion house collections online. And we weren’t able to intimately watch on as larger-than-life personalities grew from adolescence to adulthood.

Social media introduced a new kind of bridge. Not just between long-distance friends or extended family members. But between groups of people who’d never normally connect. So instead of watching vacuum cleaner infomercials, Gen Z witnessed celebrity and luxury culture at its absolute finest.

Couture apparel. High-end cosmetics and skincare. Luxury and designer sneaker collections. Gen Z grew up with all of it — up close, and personal.

Social media and the internet normalized the luxury world for Gen Z-ers. And since Gen Z will soon make up the majority of luxury shoppers, they get to shape what it feels like.

SHAPING WHAT AND HOW WE SHOP

Younger generations have achieved status and consumed luxury before in the past. Think back to the BMW-driving Yuppies in the ‘80s, for example. Affluent young people were able to purchase the same expensive, status-symbol car as their parents who’d been working for decades longer.

The key difference with Gen Z, however, is their ability to shape how brands and older generations behave. From digital stores to IRL showrooms, the relationship works in reverse. Gen Z-ers don’t purchase the same brands as their parents. They research and invest in brands, and then inform their parents of which ones to buy.

Gen Z influences what older generations purchase. Not the other way around.

In which case, it makes sense why Gen Z demands so much from luxury brands. Whether or not most Gen Z-ers know it, they’re in control and clever brands listen.

Generation Z shoppers want to purchase luxury products online, and in stores. They want fast delivery. They want products in stock. They want to get to know products before they purchase. They want more sustainability. Fur-free and cruelty-free shopping. Personalization. The list goes on.

We can see this in action during the video shopping explosion throughout 2020. When brick and mortar shops closed up, Gen Z shoppers headed online to apps and websites. They didn’t stop shopping. But the way they shop did — and brands definitely noticed.

Skincare and beauty brands quickly mastered the art of video consultations. In-store beauty advisors immediately tried on the latest products and showcased them online. Powerhouse brands like Ted Baker reimagined video shopping to match the needs of Gen Z and our younger shoppers.

The power of video shopping isn’t exclusive to luxury fashion and cosmetics, either. Herman Miller Group and the Design Within Reach team rolled out virtual shopping tools with the help of Hero — and they pulled in 700+ new conversations with design and furnishing shoppers each week. Even brands like Nike look to our youngest luxury shoppers to shape the future. In essence, Gen Z’s influence is everywhere, and it’s not going away any time soon.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Gen Z informs culture and luxury lifestyle. Savvy high-end brands that know this are working hard to accommodate Gen Z’s new shopping habits and behaviors. This manifests as video shopping, sustainable packaging practices, and woke-ness as a part of brand identity.

As Gen Z-ers demand more from the luxury world, apps like HERO® empower brands to curate personalized experiences designed for taste-makers (and soon-to-be majority spenders).

Gen Z won’t stop pushing for more, and nor should they. They hold brands to high standards. And brands that follow suit, and explore new tools, are rewarded with loyalty and passionate support.

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About Hero®

Add the “IRL” experience to your online store, with the #1 virtual shopping platform. Headquarted in London and New York. Hero is trusted by brands including Levi’s, Nike, Herman Miller and LVMH.