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Social media marketing and purchase intentions of South African generation-Z during the coronavirus pandemic.

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In 2020, the coronavirus pandemic and consequential lockdowns reshaped consumers’ buying behaviour. Social media became crucial, globally influencing Generation-Z's buying patterns. Generation-Z consumers are becoming one of the most significant generations in the world. Tech-savvy Generation-Z has formed strong ties with social media. Despite the increase in the prevalence of Generation-Z consumers and its growing influence in the marketplace, there is limited research on how these consumers perceive social media marketing and its impact on purchasing intentions. The study addressed the gap in the extant literature by exploring how social media marketing impacted South African Generation-Z consumers’ purchasing intentions during the Covid-19 pandemic. To achieve this, the study examined the mediating role of trust in social media marketing as a plausible intervening variable in the relationship. The study was conducted at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, School of Management, Information Technology and Governance, across the Westville and Pietermaritzburg campuses. A quantitative cross-sectional design was used, and a descriptive approach was embraced. The study focused on Generation-Z students (18-26 years) enrolled in undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. A sample of 323 respondents completed the electronic questionnaires distributed through the University's notice system. This study used a nonprobability convenience sampling approach. Questionnaire validity and reliability were assessed through factor analysis and Cronbach’s Coefficient Alpha, respectively. Descriptive and inferential statistics were employed to analyse the study's results. The results revealed Generation-Z perceptions of social media marketing during covid 19. The perceptions included a number of key dimensions, and these ranked from highest to lowest: trendiness, interaction, convenience, entertainment, customisation and word-of-mouth. These dimensions had a significant impact on purchasing intentions. Trust was identified as a partial mediating variable, emphasising the importance of building trust between social media marketing and purchase intentions. The study provides marketing practitioners with substantial recommendations targeting Generation-Z as a consumer base on social platforms, especially in the rapidly evolving e-commerce landscape beyond the Covid-19 context.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.