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Younger Shoppers Challenge Clichés

A study by IBM and the National Retail Federation found that almost all members of Generation Z — born between the mid-1990s and early 2000s — actually prefer to shop in bricks-and-mortar stores.

With the global Gen Z population set to reach 2.6 billion by 2020, retailers need to create more interactive engagement around their brands to serve the “always on,” mobile-focused, high-spending demographic, according to the study.

“Just as Millennials overtook Gen X, there’s another big buying group retailers need to plan for, and it’s even larger: Generation Z,” NRF President Matthew Shay says.

Generation Z is the first “digitally native” group to grow up not knowing a world before cellular phones, smartphones and other digital devices.

The study found that 67% of Generation Z shop in a bricks-and-mortar store most of the time, with another 31% shopping in-store sometimes, indicating that 98% of Gen Z shop in store.

The new generation is important to retailers because it has access to $44 billion in buying power, with 75% saying they spend more than half of the money that is available to them each month, NRF stresses.

They have no patience for hard-to-use technology and demand a seamless mobile/digital experience, and 62% said they will not use apps or websites that are difficult to navigate and 60% will not use apps or websites that are slow to load.

Generation Z consumers like to engage with brands online, especially with those that create an interactive environment where customers can shape their own experience, the study found. Gen Z knows personal information is valuable to retailers, so they want to know how brands are using it and how the information will be protected.

Less than 30% are willing to share health and wellness, location, personal life or payment information; but 61% say they would feel better sharing personal information if they knew it would be securely stored and protected.

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