Gen Z

Online payment gateway PayFast has seen a 200% increase in payments directed from their payment engine. The customers? Gen Z.

By harnessing the power of social media, Gen Z are driving a new wave of the e-commerce boom as popular social media apps have allowed this new generation of spenders to create a personalised shopping mall experience – all online and in the comfort of their own homes.

According to data sourced by PayFast, the fastest-growing group of local online shoppers is Gen Z, aged between 18 and 24.

“Our payment engine shows a year-on-year increase of 218% in this age bracket. Younger buyers are using their smartphones and social media to shop,” says Jonathan Smit, managing director and founder of PayFast.

“Globally, the appeal of social commerce among younger buyers is high. Locally, we still have a strong mall culture among older buyers, but Gen Z is moving this online by supporting local brands through their social media pages,” added Smit.

While Facebook remains the most popular social media platform in South Africa among all age groups, Instagram and TikTok are gaining momentum with younger users.

“Gen Z makes up over 40% of social media engagement in South Africa. Born in a digital age, they are familiar and motivated by user-generated content, which is how e-commerce stores are appealing to younger shoppers,” says Smit.

#TikTokmademebuyit has over a 2.3 billion views globally. TikTok is expected to drive further innovation in the e-commerce sector by partnering with the shopping cart platform, Shopify.

It is estimated that there are around 6 million TikTok users in South Africa.

PayFast had also noted a 143% increase year-on-year of payments processed on a cellphone, representing two-thirds of their total payment volumes processed.

“As a country, we’ve always had high percentages of smartphone usage. E-commerce merchants have to think mobile-first when building their online stores to attract young shoppers,” says Smit.

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