Study: Digitally native Gen Z still prefers to shop in-store

Generation Z is called the mobile-first generation. However, their preference for shopping in physical stores presents new opportunities for retailers.
 
That’s according to a new report from Euclid Analytics, “Evolution of Retail, 2017 Generation Z Shopper Survey,” which found that 66% of Gen Z prefer to shop in store because they like to see, hold and try on products before buying. Also, 28% want to engage with store associates while shopping, the most of any generation.
 
The report found that digital touchpoints drive Generation Z to identify the products they want before making an in-store purchase.  It is up to physical retailers to balance personalized, digital methods with compelling in-store experiences to engage with these mobile-first customers.
 
Gen Z, born between the late 1990s and the mid-2000s, is set to hit 2.6 billion by 2020. The first generation to have grown up alongside smart devices, social media networks, and fast-changing consumer messaging platforms. Gen Z shoppers are increasingly motivated by the convenience and personalization found online. However, 53% of Gen Z shoppers shop in retail stores at least once a week, the study said.
 
Gen Z also visits stores to find, not browse for merchandise. Only 47% of Gen Z shoppers like to browse stores (tied with Baby Boomers for the lowest compared to Millennials and Gen X), and 31% of Gen Z shoppers believe it is hard to find items they are looking for in a physical store (the most of any generation). While this is a challenge for retailers, there is an opportunity for brands willing to explore how to cater to new behaviors and expectations.
 
One of these opportunities can be gained through personalization, as 26% of Gen Z shoppers expect retailers to offer a more personalized experi-ence based on their shopping habits and preferences, the most of all de-mographics, versus Millennials (22%), Gen X (17%) and Baby Boomers (11%).
 
Social media is also a motivator, especially Snapchat, the preferred net-work among 44% of Gen Z shoppers shopping in a retail store. Only 16% of Millennial and 5% of Gen X respondents regularly use Snapchat while shopping.
 
Instagram wins for brand discovery, as 45% rely on the social network to find new cool products, followed by Facebook (40%).
 
"Retailers should reach out to Generation Z at this early stage to introduce their brands and forge enduring relationships," said Brent Franson, CEO of Euclid Analytics. "Our findings highlight some great opportunities for them to connect with this mobile-first population that's still very much interested in meaningful in-store experiences. Winning their loyalty will mean getting creative about using mobile and social marketing outreach in their physical stores."
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