Move Over TikTok and Facebook. Instagram Tops the List for Gen Z Social Commerce, Finds EnsembleIQ’s Path to Purchase Institute Research

Instagram tops the list of Gen Z preferred social platforms for in-app purchases

Instagram tops the list of Gen Z preferred social platforms for in-app purchases

CHICAGO, June 7, 2022 – EnsembleIQ’s Path to Purchase Institute, which serves the needs of brand manufacturers, retailers, agencies and solution providers in the commerce marketing industry, today unveils a research report focused on Gen Z purchasing power. When it comes to social commerce, Instagram takes the top spot with 38% of Gen Z shoppers ranking it as their preferred platform for making in-app purchases. In addition to citing Instagram as the social platform that they engage with daily, Gen Z also called out the app’s ability to make personal recommendations and confidence that the platform protects their identity. TikTok and Facebook tied for second place for in-app purchases, both at 22%.

“Digitally savvy Gen Z, born approximately from 1997-2006, has come of age, boasting strong voices, unique behaviors and sought-after purchasing power,” said Jessie Dowd, Editorial Director, Path to Purchase Institute. “Our report offers insights to help brands and retailers understand Gen Z behaviors from the way they search, browse and shop across channels and platforms to what’s influencing their purchasing decisions.” 

Additional findings:

The Gen Z consumer is truly an omnichannel shopper, fluidly browsing and buying both online and offline. Fifty-one percent of respondents reported that they shop mostly in-store for everyday items, while 27% preferred online shopping.

The impact social media has on purchasing everyday items is greatly influenced by what Gen Z sees their personal social circle doing. The activity of friends, family, classmates and co-workers influences purchases for 75% of respondents. Retailer or brand social activity follows at 64%, with 18- to 24-year-olds (67%) more influenced than 16- to 17-year-olds (51%). Micro-influencers or celebrities have an overall impact at 42%-47%, especially among Hispanic or Black Gen Z shoppers.

Gen Z consumers are engaged shoppers. Gen Z is drawn to in-store options that are affordable and offer a one-stop shopping experience. Walmart (49%) and Target (19%) were referenced as Gen Z consumers’ favorite destinations for in-store shopping for everyday items. This is due to having everything they need and a wide selection at an affordable price. 

The desire for one-stop shopping is still a Gen Z priority online as is affordability. Sixty-two percent identified Amazon as their favorite destination for online shopping with 31% focused on Amazon having everything they need. Thirteen percent of respondents preferred Walmart for online shopping with 37% noting affordability as a driving factor.

Whether in-store or online, Gen Z is enticed by a good deal. Ninety-one percent of respondents identify promotions and sales as impactful, while customer reviews or testimonials, personalized offers and informative content specific to products all ranked at 88% effective. 

Gen Z shoppers primarily start their searches with Amazon (52%) or Google (43%). Retailer websites are used to start 28% of their searches, and TikTok 16%.

Social media supports about 50% of respondents’ browsing habits with Instagram and TikTok being the most popular at over 60%. 

There is minimal interest from Gen Z respondents around NFTs (non-fungible tokens). Only 8% have purchased an NFT before and 31% percent say they are not at all interested in purchasing NFTs. More than one-third of the female respondents didn’t know what an NFT was.

The 2022 Path to Purchase Institute Gen Z Shopping Habits research study was fielded March 22-30, 2022. Respondents were 16- to 24-year-olds who self-reported shopping online or in-store at least once a month for one or more categories of interest.

To learn more about the Path to Purchase Institute, visit

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About the Path to Purchase Institute

The Path to Purchase Institute is a global member community serving the needs of brand manufacturers, retailers, agencies and the entire ecosystem of solution providers in the commerce marketing industry.

About EnsembleIQ

EnsembleIQ is a North American business intelligence company delivering insightful information and actionable connections. Using our market expertise throughout the entire path to purchase in retail, retail technology, consumer goods, healthcare, and hospitality, we help professionals make informed business decisions and gain a competitive advantage. We offer creative solutions that connect suppliers and service providers with our business-building communities. Through our diverse capabilities, we provide our markets with unrivaled digital, social, event, research, marketing services and strategic print offerings. To learn more about EnsembleIQ, visit

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