Any fears that Australia’s large shopping centres would be turned into desolate dustbowls as shoppers move online can be officially allayed with a new report suggesting the next generation of shoppers – the Zs (those born after 2000) – actually prefer shopping in bricks and mortar stores.
The study by IBM and the National Retail Federation (NRF) in the US found the Zs far preferred a trip to Westfield than shopping online. The study (which you can read here) revealed that there would be 2.6 billion Zs around the globe by 2020.
The news follows last week’s story on B&T that found the Zs weren’t fans of advertising.
According to the results of the IBM study, it won’t be all plain sailing for the bricks and mortar retailers who will need to to create more interactive engagement around their brands to serve the “always on, mobile-focused, high-spending demographic”.
It was believed that Gen Z would be the first “digital native” generation that had never not had access to smartphones and tablets. Hence, they’d naturally gravitate to online shopping. But the study found that 67 per cent of Zs shop in a bricks-and-mortar store most of the time, with another 31 per cent shopping in-store sometimes, indicating 98 per cent of Gen Z shop in store.
The new generation is important to retailers because it has access to $US44 billion in buying power, while the study found that 75 per cent say they spend more than half of the money that is available to them each month.
And the generation is demanding: the study found 52 per cent of Z consumers will transfer loyalty from one brand to another if the brand’s quality is not up to par. They care the most about retailers getting the basics right, with 66 per cent saying product quality and availability are the most important factors when choosing one brand over another; 65 percent focus on value.
Other findings of the study included:
• 74 per cent of Zs spend their free time online, with 25 per cent online five hours or more each day.
• The Zs increasingly make buying decisions first online.
• 73 per cent of Zs use their phones primarily to text and chat socially with family and friends, but members are willing to extend their conversations to brand relationships.
• 36 percent would create digital content for a brand, 42 per cent would participate in an online game for a campaign and 43 per cent would participate in a product review.
• The Zs have no patience for hard-to-use technology and demand a seamless mobile/digital experience
• 62 per cent will not use apps or websites that are difficult to navigate and 60 per cent will not use apps or websites that are slow to load.
• Zs know personal information is valuable to retailers, so members want to know how brands are using it and how the information will be protected.
• Less than 30 per cent of Zs are willing to share health and wellness, location, personal life or payment information.
• 61 percent would feel better sharing personal information if they knew it would be securely stored and protected.
Commenting on the study, NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay said: “Just as Millennials overtook Gen X, there’s another big buying group retailers need to plan for, and it’s even larger: Generation Z.
“They appreciate the hands-on experience of shopping in a store. With technology constantly evolving but some shopping habits remaining the same, retailers need to be agile enough to serve both needs. Retailers are constantly focused on experimenting with new innovations both online and in-store to remain relevant to evolving consumer demand.”