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Gen Z Leads the Way: Preferring Apple Pay Over Millennials!

by Chris Mendez

In a landscape increasingly dominated by digital transactions, a new study by PYMNTS Intelligence, in collaboration with Adobe, has shed light on the preferences and behaviors of various generational cohorts regarding digital wallet adoption. The comprehensive research, which surveyed over 3,500 U.S. consumers, sought to understand the intricate dynamics at play when shoppers make online purchases.

Key findings from the report, titled “How Preferred Payment Availability Can Reduce Cart Abandonment,” indicate a significant generational divide in the adoption and usage of digital wallets. Gen Z consumers, those at the forefront of the digital age, have emerged as the most avid users of Apple Pay for their online shopping needs. The data reveals that 8.8% of Gen Z shoppers favor Apple Pay, a figure that more than doubles the adoption rate among Millennials, which stands at 4%. Moreover, this preference starkly contrasts the utilization among older generations, with only 1.1% of Gen X and a mere 0.8% of Baby Boomers and Seniors opting for Apple Pay as their go-to digital payment method.

Surprisingly, the landscape shifts when focusing on Google Pay’s market penetration. Millennials exhibit a near threefold higher adoption rate of Google Pay compared to their younger Gen Z counterparts, underscoring the nuanced preferences between these closely aligned generations.

This propensity towards certain digital payments among younger consumers is more than a mere trend; it signals a growing expectation for diversity in payment options during the online checkout process. Drew Olson, senior director at Google Pay, articulated this demand in a recent discussion with PYMNTS CEO Karen Webster. He emphasized that consumers are advocating for an expanded array of payment methods across more eCommerce platforms. This sentiment is echoed by merchants who recognize the importance of accommodating these preferences to facilitate smoother transactions and ultimately, drive sales.

A case in point was shared by Tamara Jarrar, founder and CEO of the direct-to-consumer children’s sleepwear brand Bellabu Bear. Jarrar recounted instances where payment processing issues on their site led to immediate customer feedback, indicating a strong reluctance to pivot to alternative payment methods. This underscores the importance of not only offering diverse payment options but ensuring their reliability and seamless integration to avoid obstructing the sales process.

The study’s insights into digital wallet preferences underscore a significant generational shift in online shopping behavior. While Gen Z’s predilection for Apple Pay mirrors their immersion in the digital ecosystem from a young age, the varied preferences among Millennials and the slower adoption rates among older generations highlight the complex landscape that merchants must navigate. Offering a range of payment options appears to be more than a convenience—it’s a necessity for capturing and retaining a diverse customer base in the digital age.

As eCommerce continues to evolve, understanding these generational dynamics will be crucial for businesses aiming to optimize their online sales channels and reduce cart abandonment rates. By aligning payment offerings with consumer expectations, merchants can enhance the online shopping experience, fostering loyalty and driving growth in an increasingly competitive market.


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