How Gen Z envisions AI improving e-commerce

New data from Harris Poll and Rokt shows support for AI-powered deal-finding and price-comparing.

How Gen Z envisions AI improving e-commerce

Gen Zers appear eager to use artificial intelligence when engaging in one of their favorite activities—online shopping, according to a new study conducted by the Harris Poll and e-commerce tech company Rokt.  

Nearly nine in 10 (88%) global Gen Z respondents think AI can improve online shopping, according to the study, which surveyed just over 6,000 consumers ages 18-78 over two weeks in May. Over half (55%) expressed particular interest in using an AI assistant that would help them discover products and cater to their shopping-related needs and desires.

Also read: How to get Gen Z to shop in stores

The data provides marketers with two avenues of insight that could prove helpful in developing strategy. Firstly, the study strengthens support for e-commerce as a use case for AI. Ever since ChatGPT exploded onto the scene late last year, marketers have been looking for ways to incorporate new AI technology into their businesses. Some have used it as an advertisement in itself, flaunting their use of AI in campaigns, while others have pointed it toward internal processes, such as data analysis and brainstorming. 

E-commerce platforms have been improving AI-powered capabilities to attract brands. Amazon has a suite of generative AI tools, and Shopify is an adopter of ChatGPT’s plug-in feature, which enables the chatbot to invoke a company’s services when handling a user’s query. 

The second takeaway for marketers is a greater understanding of what moves Gen Z. That the cohort appears not only tolerant of AI but also genuinely excited about how the technology could improve one of its favorite pastimes, offers a welcome pulse check on a generation that marketers often fail to regard accurately. 

Gen Zers appear particularly optimistic about the ways in which AI could help them save money while shopping. Nearly half (47%) of Gen Z respondents named price-comparing as a top area in which AI will improve online shopping, while 45% named deal-finding as a top area. Moreover, 35% of Gen Zers believe that AI shopping assistants will simplify product discovery.

The usefulness of AI appears to stem from friction that consumers at large face when shopping online today. Nearly three-quarters (73%) of U.S. consumers say they experience frustration or barriers at checkout, the study found, up to 40% of which reconsidered their purchases as a result. These barriers include too many ads, the requirement of logging into or making an account and irrelevant product recommendations.

The study also found high interest in AI-powered e-commerce among millennials. Roughly 86% of global millennial respondents think that AI can improve online shopping, compared with 88% of Gen Z, and 52% of global millennial respondents express an interest in an AI shopping assistant, compared with 55% of Gen Z.