What impact will Generation Z have on purchasing online?


Written by Editorial Team

Published January 2020

In this article...

Generation Z – those children and young adults born around 1995 to 2013 - is coming of age, with the first advance already having reached adulthood and starting to influence the world we live in.

They’re the next consumer powerhouse, hailed as the conscientious generation which looks to the future with a realistic rather than optimistic approach.¹

So what else do we know about Generation Z, particularly looking at their relevance to online merchants today? We know this is a generation which digests information at super speed. Often described as impatient and with short attention spans, an alternative view is that they’re just very efficient at filtering information and that the ‘eight second attention limit’ often referred to is indicative only of how quickly it takes them to cast aside irrelevant information.²

Either way, for those with teenage children it will come as no surprise that Generation Z expects everything to happen immediately. Apps that take too long to load and websites which are clunky to use on mobiles can all spell the kiss of death for an ecommerce business not paying attention to its online presence.³  The same, of course, applies to payments – make it too difficult to pay online by not offering the choice and convenience of modern-day digital standards, and Generation Z is the most likely to be spectacularly unimpressed, as well as being the most likely to remember and talk about – via their extensive social media networks – a poor experience.

A further aspect of direct relevance to payments is that it’s also reported Generation Z is significantly more risk-averse than previous generations¹ ³, conjectured to be because they grew up in families affected by the economic uncertainty and hardships of the previous decade.  

Put these factors together and it’s easy to see why the campaign to replace password access with next-generation biometric authentication is so relevant to merchants looking to meet the needs of this upcoming wave of younger consumers.

The campaign to strengthen personal security by putting an end to password use is spearheaded by infamous Catch me if you can’s Frank Abagnale and his business partner Ori Elsen, both of who are experts (including, in Frank’s case, from both sides of the fence) in identity fraud.

The authentication approach advocated by Frank and Ori is much more secure than passwords – which can be inadvertently shared or calculated – by using the built-in biometric sensors of mobile phones (i.e. fingerprint or face recognition) combined with cryptographic keys with which we can identify the customer and confirm possession of a device – for more secure authentication.

As the acknowledged ‘first tribe of true digital natives’ – they have never known a world without the internet or social media - Generation Z is the most likely to embrace this approach wholeheartedly - it appeals to their tendency to avoid risk whilst offering the significant allure of immediacy compared to having to create, recall and enter a password.

With Generation Z, simplicity is key. Indeed, it’s said that it’s never been so important to simplify processes¹. By offering a fast, streamlined means of authentication so that they can move through your checkout at the same superspeed they do everything else, you can ensure your business is ready for the next significant surge of young consumers.


  • Frank Abagnale and Ori Elsen shared their insights at a thought leadership event hosted by Pay360 in London – read our blog to find out how the removal of passwords could give your business the competitive edge




² https://digitalmarketinginstitute.com/en-gb/blog/is-your-business-ready-for-the-rise-of-generation-z


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