San Diego -- Despite being the most tech-savvy generation in history, Generation Y, the 80-million strong cohort of Americans between the ages of 18 and 35, has not forsaken shopping in stores for online purchasing – as long as retailers keep their offerings "fresh" and interesting, according to a new report from the Urban Land Institute (ULI).
The report, Generation Y: Shopping and Entertainment in the Digital Age, found that 37% of Gen Yers love shopping and 48% enjoy it. Half of the men surveyed and 70% of the women consider shopping a form of entertainment and something to share with friends and family. The appeal of shopping is particularly strong among Gen Yers who are Hispanic and African American.
Gen Yers tend to spread their dollars around generously, the study found, with more than half visiting a variety of retail centers at least once a month, including discount department stores (the retail type most frequently visited by Gen Y), community shopping centers, enclosed malls, department stores, big-box power centers, chain apparel stores, and neighborhood business districts.
At the same time, 91% of respondents said that they had made online purchases over the previous six months, with 45% spending more than an hour a day looking at retail-oriented websites.
"Contrary to what some retailers have feared, we found that Gen Y still does most of its purchasing in stores," said Lachman, president of real estate consulting firm Lachman Associates LLC and executive-in-residence at Columbia University's Graduate Business School. "Gen Yers use the Internet to research products, compare prices, envision how clothing or accessories might look on them, or respond to flash sales or coupon offers, as well as to purchase items; they are definitely multi-channel shoppers."
The findings from the survey have numerous implications for today's retail property owners, developers and managers, including the following: