Disrupting the fashion retail journey: social media and GenZ's fashion consumption

Yuri Siregar, Anthony Kent*, Anne Frances Peirson-Smith, Congying Guan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
69 Downloads (Pure)


Purpose: The aim of this paper is to assess the use of social media by Gen Z consumers and the ways they impact on and re-shape their fashion consumption journey. This generational approach uses the lens of uses and gratifications theory (UGT) to explore the customer fashion retail journey from the perspective of the Gen Z consumer. Design/methodology/approach: The research uses an exploratory approach in response to the relative lack of research in to GenZ consumers combined with a need to understand shopping journeys. Mixed methods were used with a first phase of interviews followed by a survey of 102 Gen Z students recruited online in the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic. Findings: The study found that GenZ users of social media for shopping sought gratification from experiences derived from social relationships, entertainment and information. The need for immediate gratification was found in new information and meeting new people to maintain social relationships, learn about products and inform the shopping journey. Further, the research supported the importance of visual images in the affective gratification of shopping needs. Resale sites on social media were favoured for their low prices, information about previously owned fashion items and the opportunity to exercise sustainable fashion choices. Originality/value: The research advances understanding of fashion shopping journeys through social media and online resale sites. It demonstrates that younger consumers, GenZ, shop through the gratification of experiences informed by their social networks and wider contacts. The linear stages of pre to post–purchase shopping are merged and looped as they exchange information about their shopping journey, from information gathering to post–purchase comments. The role of the brand to these knowledgeable consumers conducting their own resale trade is to facilitate access to and information about their products.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)862-875
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Retail and Distribution Management
Issue number7
Early online date23 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jul 2023

Cite this