Brick-And-Mortar Makes A Comeback With Generation Z

Teenagers shopping with friends? Well, duh – but only if they can bring all of their friends, carried in their pocket and amplified via an acceptable Wi-Fi signal at the mall, says a new study by HRC Retail Advisory.

The study, conducted via online survey, compared the shopping habits of 1,350 “millennial” shoppers (ages 18 to 41) and shoppers from Generation Z (ages 10 to 17).

The surprising find was that, while the older crowd had shifted toward online shopping and away from physical retailers, the younger generation was swinging the other way, forcing their millennial parents out of the house and back into brick-and-mortar stores.

“While the latter generation was born with a smartphone in hand, it doesn’t keep them from shopping – and even preferring to shop – in brick-and-mortar stores, as long as they have access to their ever-important social network,” said Farla Efros, President of HRC Retail Advisory.

“Generation Z is not only powerful on their own, but they are the ones dragging their millennial parents (who prefer to shop online) back into the mall as well,” Efros said.

More than half of millennial and Generation Z shoppers said they use social media to solicit opinions while shopping, and this influences buying behavior in 40 percent of both age groups. A quarter of millennials admitted to returning purchases after receiving feedback on social media later, and Generation Z’s return rate was more than 60 percent.

Generation Z and younger millennials (18 to 34) were more likely to embrace emerging shopping technologies like in-store payment apps and Magic Mirrors, which allow shoppers to share outfits they try on in the fitting room with their social networks for input.

In the constantly-evolving beauty world, discounts drove buying behavior. Both groups said they were more likely to shop for beauty products at Amazon or a discount retailer (like Walmart or Target) than at a traditional beauty store (like Sephora or department stores).

However, millennials and Generation Z shoppers took their inspiration from different places. When buying beauty products, millennials based their decisions on what was in the store, while Generation Z looked to friends and YouTube Beauty Gurus for guidance.


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