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Survey: Teens, young adults like shopping at malls better than online

Cleveland -- Shopping ranks as a favorite activity among nearly half of all teens and young adults aged 13 to 24, according to a new survey by Forest City in partnership with Alexander Babbage. Shopping at malls ranked above a virtual shopping experience among the entire group, with the 13-to-17-year-old age group showing the strongest preference for a bricks-and-mortar shopping experience.

As to what is shaping the young shoppers' decisions, friends and in-store displays topped the list of key influencers.  In fact, the study found that young shoppers are four times more likely to be influenced by friends and three times more likely to be influenced by in-store displays than by social media.

The survey also found that teens and young adults are more deal-oriented than generally expected. In addition to finding a deal, young shoppers seek an experience that delivers individuality, authenticity and uniqueness.

Results also show that teens and young adults visit large shopping centers more frequently and spend more money there than at any other virtual or physical shopping venue. Specifically, the survey found that 71% of monthly expenditures by 13-to-17-year-olds and 69% by 18-to-24-year-olds are made in bricks-and-mortar shopping locations.  

The survey also found that 13-to-17-year-olds are less brand-centric and more price-sensitive than 18-to-24-year-olds. However, both groups prefer sales and discounts over other tested ways to enhance their bricks-and-mortar shopping experience.  

Gift card incentives ranked especially high among this age group, followed by sales at favorite retailers. The 13-to-17-year-old group showed a stronger interest in using malls as places to "hang out," compared with the 18-to-24-year-old age group.
"This generation grew up during the recession, a time when everyone was trying to cut costs, including their parents," said Jane Lisy, Forest City's senior VP of marketing, Forest City, a national real estate company. "Even though our economy is now recovering, these deal-seeking habits are still important to young shoppers."

In other key findings:

• Personalization and individuality also ranked highly among teens and young adults when it came to their shopping experience. Nearly 65% said the ability to personalize their clothes, shoes and accessories had a positive impact on their overall shopping experience.

• While most young adults indicated that using a mobile device is the least preferred way to shop online, they also said the ability to use mobile devices to receive offers and information positively affects the shopping center experience. Email communication was revealed as the preferred medium for fashion, brand and retail information.