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How social media and fear of missing out influence Gen Z buying decisions

Gen Z, also known as ‘Zoomers’, were born between 1997 and 2012. Unlike previous generations, they’ve grown up with the internet as an essential part of their lives. This has created a generation so dependent on 24/7 digital connectivity that any moments of disconnection trigger feelings of missing out. Their constant connectivity means they are always looking for what’s new and trending, often driven by social media and the fear of missing out (FOMO)

Data shows that one-third of shoppers discover a new product or brand on social media. However, this rate nearly doubles among Gen Z consumers, highlighting their more significant engagement with social media. 

The hyper interactivity of social media, allowing consumers to react, ask questions, and vote, amongst other features, also promotes exclusivity when engaging with a brand online. If you’re not in it, you’re out of it; Gen Zs want to be seen online buying the most popular item. They want to be the first to showcase their latest purchases on social media to get their “likes”. That means brands that understand this can adapt effectively to create urgency and desirability when marketing to Gen Z. Let’s look at how.

Gen Z and social media

Unlike older generations, Gen Z was born into the digital age, making technology an extension of themselves. Social media isn’t just a pastime – it acts as a news source, a creative outlet, and their primary means of connecting with friends and broader communities. 

Gen Z boasts the highest social media usage across Asia, with studies indicating that at least a third of this demographic spends more than six hours daily on their phones and is heavily engaged in social platforms. 

Platforms like TikTok and Instagram are viral. Research also shows TikTok enjoys immense popularity among Gen Z throughout Asia, including major markets like China, India, and Indonesia. In Malaysia, Gen Z are more likely to make purchases through TikTok, surpassing the usage of Millennials and Generation X for shopping on the platform. This highlights the significant influence social media and fear of missing out have on Gen Z’s decision-making, shaping how they discover trends, form opinions, and ultimately make purchases.

The rise of social media influencers

Social media influencers dominate Gen Z buying patterns, dictating what’s hot and not by expertly leveraging FOMO. Influencer partnerships or influencer marketing, can ignite interest and urgency around your brand. 

In Asia, social media influencers particularly tap into FOMO by showcasing exclusive experiences, limited-edition products, and time-sensitive offers often tied to locations or events that are popular with their audiences. This creates a sense of urgency and exclusivity, resonating with Asian consumers’ desire to be a part of the latest trends and social circles.  

Studies show that a striking 56% of Southeast Asians follow influencers, with even higher percentages in the Philippines (68%) and Vietnam (71%).  For example, popular influencers might promote exclusive pop-up stores, collaborations only available in certain countries, or early access to product launches – which are all tactics designed to trigger FOMO and drive quick action. This strategy is particularly effective with Gen Z living in Asia, a demographic deeply integrated with social media, highly responsive to influencer trends, and drawn to lifestyle, entertainment, food, fashion, and travel content. 

Regarding which social media app is the most popular for influencers, TikTok has become the platform where young people look for information. The Reuters Institute reveals young adults increasingly favour celebrities, influencers, and social media personalities for news over traditional journalists on platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and Snapchat. 

Unsurprisingly, this is also the platform where they start their search journey and eventually purchase what they need. As a Marketing Interactive report states, Gen Z relies on the combined influence of TikTok and Instagram, with popular trends like #TikTokMadeMeBuyIt and #TikTokBudol as a form of social proof to validate their purchase decisions.

Social media and fear of missing out as marketing strategies

FOMO, or the Fear Of Missing Out, taps into a fundamental human desire for belonging and social connection. Our brains are wired to perceive potential loss as more significant than potential gain, creating a sense of urgency when we see others enjoying experiences or products we don’t have. 

FOMO can short-circuit our rational thinking, leading us to make impulsive purchases or choices to avoid feeling left out. When it comes to appealing to Gen Z, harnessing the power of social media and the fear of missing out can be a highly effective marketing strategy for businesses.

See how popular Thai brand Mistine Cosmetics has leveraged TikTok to promote its products. From a relatively unknown company in Asia, their TikTok profile now has 8.3K followers, with each video reaching an average of over 4 million views. 

What drives its digital marketing success? Mistine strategically leverages social media and fear of missing out tactics to drive cosmetics sales. They emphasise product features like “waterproof” and “sweatproof,” which resonate with Southeast Asian consumers and create a sense of urgency. 

A quick search for #mistine on Tiktok drew 13.1K videos from various beauty influencers. Mistine’s partnership with beauty influencers for product demonstrations and tutorials has further strengthened the desirability of its products, creating a sense of community where viewers showcase similar results with whom they follow. 

These videos are not just limited to big-time influencers. Mistine also engages micro-influencers who have a loyal following. These videos generated social buzz and online engagement as consumers shared their purchases and encouraged others to purchase. 

Also, by launching limited edition Mistine lip products, the company has tapped into Gen Z consumers’ desire to own something unique and rare, increasing the perceived value of their lip products. This scarcity tactic further increases the effectiveness of limited-time offers, as consumers feel pressured to act before the products are gone forever. Mistine also constantly drops promotions through its livestreams on TikTok and Instagram, which often include exclusive discounts or early access to new products, creating a sense of VIP status for those participating.

Beyond FOMO, Mistine’s success lies in its multi-channel approach, combining traditional e-commerce platforms with TikTok Shop and its website. They prioritise localised content that feels authentic to Southeast Asian audiences and ensure their products remain affordable, a key consideration for their target market.

Leverage Qashier to serve Gen Z consumers better

How can those marketing strategies be implemented to tap into Gen Z buying behaviour effectively? Let’s be honest– this generation wants fast, convenient, and seamless experiences. That’s where Qashier POS (Point-of-Sale) and payment solutions come in.

Qashier offers a range of POS solutions to empower businesses with speed and flexibility. Whether you’re starting small with our free Qashier app, need portability with QashierXS or QashierX2, or require full-fledged, powerful capabilities with QashierXL, we’ve got you covered. 

Our systems are designed with Gen Z consumers in mind – intuitive interfaces and streamlined processes mean shorter wait times and happier customers. Plus, our potential for e-commerce integration means you can reach this demographic where they love to shop – online!

We also understand that Gen Z’s payment preferences may vary. Qashier’s payment solutions enable your business to accept all the ways they love to pay, from cash to credit cards (like Visa and Mastercard), debit cards, and mobile wallet options. This makes transactions frictionless for them and helps you tap into their significant spending power. 

Qashier: Your key to Gen Z customer satisfaction

To thrive in this dynamic market, catering to Gen Z’s tech-driven preferences is the key to lasting business growth. To do that, you need the right tools. Qashier’s POS and Payment solutions streamline your operations and enhance the Gen Z customer experience. Businesses that are unable to adapt will get left behind. Embracing social strategies, understanding the power of social media and fear of missing out, and using innovative tools like Qashier POS and Payment solutions will position your business for success.

More about Qashier

Qashier offers multiple digital solutions, including QR code table ordering, table management (F&B), employee management, customer relationship management (loyalty programs), inventory management, data analytics, and cashless payments, in an all-in-one device.

Qashier promises a seamless setup within 10 minutes, without the need for technical expertise. It boasts a user-friendly interface that is simple for anyone to learn and use. If you require assistance, you’ll find 7 days-a-week responsive technical support from your local team.

Try the Qashier app for free on your own Android device! Alternatively, you can speak to us to see how Qashier can meet your business needs. Schedule a meeting with us here, call us at (+65) 3165 0155, WhatsApp (+60) 12 660 2741, or email [email protected].

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