January 8, 2020

New generations, new ways of shopping

Behavioral differences between generations are often stark, and retail is a prime example. Older consumers may have embraced the benefits of online shopping, but they’re nonetheless more traditional in their habits, prioritizing convenience and limiting the influence of social media and technology on their purchases.

Younger shoppers, however, are demanding not just an improved blend of offline and online experiences, but also greater transparency and integrity from the brands they buy from. Below we take a look at how both Millennials and Gen Zers are shopping:

Gen Y (Millennials) / Born 1981 to 1996 approx.
When it comes to shopping, Millennials are omnivores. 68%1 want the convenience of omnichannel experiences, allowing them to switch easily between their smartphone, laptop and local store. Unlike older generations, they’re more likely to see shopping as a fun, social activity, and other consumers’ feedback is vital both online and offline: 60%2 consider advice from friends when making a purchase, and 90%3 research product reviews online.

Authenticity, ethics and sustainability are all major priorities for Millennials. Less than 1%4 respond to traditional advertising, much preferring genuine, user-generated content. 50%5 are more likely to purchase from a company that supports a cause, and 75%6 say they will “definitely or probably” change their consumption habits to reduce environmental impact. With combined millennial spending totalling $600 billion7 a year, it’s in retailers’ best interests to listen.

Gen Z / Born 1997 to 2012 approx.
Those born into Generation Z have never known a time before the internet, so it’s no surprise that they’re especially savvy when it comes to online research and price-checking before they buy. Speed is hugely important– 60%8 say they won’t use an app or website if it’s too slow – and social media is a major factor in their decisions: 80%9 of their purchases are influenced by channels such as Instagram, Snapchat and YouTube.

That’s not to say that they see bricks and mortar as passé, however. 84%10 of Gen Zers say they view shopping as a social activity, and two-thirds11 refer to shop in-store to avoid waiting times. Nonetheless, technology is the foundation of their shopping experience, and stores need to keep up with young buyers’ tech habits to stay relevant to this trend-setting market.

What’s next? The demands of younger shoppers present challenges for retailers, but also opportunities to expand their brand in ethical and sustainable ways. At RBEWC, we’ll bring together the entire industry to share ideas, learn from success stories, and present the most innovative new solutions to respond to new generations’ needs.

Make sure you’re part of it! Join us from 12-14 May 2020 and add your voice to the next stage of the retail revolution.

1 https://www.accenture.com/ca-en/insight-outlook-who-are-millennial-shoppers-what-do-they-really-want-retail
2 Yarrow, Kit: Gen BuY: How Tweens, Teens and Twenty-Somethings are Revolutionizing Retail (2009)
3 https://www.synchronyfinancial.com/8131_SYN_MultiGenWP.pdf
4 5 https://www.frontify.com/en/blog/the-age-of-authenticity-why-brands-need-to-get-real/
6 https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/article/2018/was-2018-the-year-of-the-influential-sustainable-consumer/
7 https://www.forbes.com/sites/richardkestenbaum/2017/06/14/this-is-how-millennials-shop/#cd01c89244ce
8 https://www.ibm.com/downloads/cas/W07A8QGE
9 https://www.retaildive.com/news/study-80-of-gen-z-purchases-influenced-by-social-media/447249/
10 http://retail-assist.co.uk/gen-z-vs-gen-x-vs-gen-y-shopping-habits-survey/
11 https://www.fierceretail.com/digital/gen-z-looking-to-identify-brands

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This year’s event will take the form of dedicated sessions within Smart City Live (17-18 November, 2020), a virtual program of day-long broadcasting plus dedicated online workshops, sessions, and side events.

Our flagship event, Retail and Brand Experience World Congress, will be back on November 16-18, 2021.

Please bear with us while the website is updated. In the meantime you can contact our Sales Team for any inquiries.