New attitudes, behaviors and shopping preferences among Generation Z and Millennials are keeping retailers on their toes.
Emerging in-store technologies and positive social media feedback are top priorities among both Generation Z and Millennial consumers. This is according to retail advisory firm HRC Retail Advisory (HRC), which surveyed 1,350 participants in North America about their shopping experiences.
More than 90% of Generation Z said that a strong Wi-Fi signal is important to them and their overall shopping experience — a prerequisite to take advantage of emerging solutions, such as Magic Mirrors, when shopping. In fact, 66% of Millennials said they would be somewhat likely to use the technology.
However, Generation Z and younger Millennials were found to embrace emerging technologies, particularly if they enhanced a connection with their social network or streamlined the shopping experience. For example, they are partial to retail apps, especially for in-store payments. Specifically, 68% of Millennials, and 64% of Generation Z stated that they would likely use a retailer’s app to make an in-store payment. Meanwhile, 78% of Millennials favor apps over traditional payment methods.
These generations are also leveraging social media when making purchase decisions. Nearly 60% of respondents among both generations use Facebook daily, with Millennials at 72% usage. YouTube ranks second among both demographics, with over 55% using the platform daily.
More than half of respondents (both generations) said they use social media to solicit opinions while shopping, and more than 40% said they have made a decision based on feedback from their network. Additionally, 25% of Millennials said they have returned items based on feedback from social media sites, and Generation Z’s return rate is as high as 62%, the study reported.
These generations are also shopping the beauty category in a whole new way. Keeping an eye on new beauty trends, both generations look to Amazon and Discount Stores (i.e. Walmart, Target) to shop for products over traditional beauty stores (i.e. Sephora, department stores). When asked where Gen Z has purchased beauty products in the last six months, 55% said discount stores and 35% said Amazon. For Millennials, 49% shop discount stores, and 45% use Amazon.
Beauty shopping is also very social, at least among Generation Z which cites friends and YouTube Beauty Gurus as their primary influences (54%). While Millennials are primarily influenced by the store experience (34%), this is less important to Generation Z (11%).
“Millennial and Generation Z’s use of technology in-store, their need to stay connected to friends via social media while they shop, and how they’re shopping beauty trends is changing consumer spending patterns,” said Farla Efros, president of HRC Retail Advisory. “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.”
Efros added, “Generation Z in 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. Understanding these consumer segments and how they apply to a retailer’s business will be essential, as both of these generations will be crucial to retail strategies going forward.”