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Generation Z shopping habits should be top of retailer's priority

By Don-Alvin Adegeest

Dec 5, 2016

London - A new study by Shoppercentric looks at Generation Z shoppers (aged 15 to 24) and their buying behavior. As the next generation of big spenders, there are some fascinating insights for retailers to consider.

“Generation Z are a fascinating section of the shopper population,” said Danielle Pinning, Managing Director at Shoppercentric. “They’ve grown up in a truly connected world and are starting to access the kind of money that means they can flex their spending power. A lot has already been written about who they are as consumers, but there’s been no particular focus for those interested in shoppers. We wanted to take a closer look at what their expectations and needs are since they may not be today’s big spenders, but they could give a real pointer to where the future of retail lies… if we take the time to listen to them.”

Generation Z value experience more than material goods

One finding shows many Generation Z shoppers feel their happiness runs deeper than material possessions alone: 34 percent strongly agree that they want to feel they are getting good experiences – that life isn’t all about what they own, versus 28 percent of older shoppers.

In terms of frequency, Generation Z shop (instore/online) at least seven times a month (rising to eight times a month amongst the men in this age group). Going to physical shops and malls is as much a social pursuit as it is about buying things: 52 percent of Generation Z said that going out shopping was a fun way to spend time with friends/family, versus 44 percent of adult shoppers at large.

Using smartphones in-store influences buying decisions

Gen Z shoppers are twice as likely as other shoppers to cite product displays as important when shopping instore, and 49 percent agree that they use the displays instore/online to give them ideas (versus 41 percent of the broader shopping population). They’re also using their smartphones instore more often with 53 percent agreeing that using their smartphone means they can get better information to help them decide what to buy when instore – compared to 38 percent of older shoppers.

Generation Z love a bargain just as much as anyone else and 48 percent agree that they tended to buy the cheapest they could so that they could buy more things they really like.

As the most connected generation, shoppers have no problem buying more items than they want, and returning what they don’t want. In fact 28 percent of Generation Z agree that they buy lots of things online knowing they’re going to send most back – compared with 10 percent of older shoppers.

Social media is a key influencer for Generation Z

Social Media plays a huge role for Generation Z, and they are more likely than older shoppers to be connecting beyond their social groups of family and friends or even like-minded groups, to retailers or brands.

Pinnington concluded: “We’re all aware that Generation Z are easily bored and have a very short attention span, but on the flip side, they have great confidence and a terrific support system provided by social media which helps them to manage risk when they’re choosing what to do and what to buy. Plus they’re aware that retailers are interested in them and that they’re worth getting to know – this is in stark contrast to how many older shoppers feel."

Photo credit: Generation Z, source Entrepreneur