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Is Generation Z Leading a Return to In-Store Shopping?

Reading Time: 2 minutes

As our newest generation of shopper, Centennials (also known as Generation Z) have high expectations. Armed with technology, they have the power to source information and make decisions without the influence of retailers. How can brands and retailers better connect with this next generation of shoppers? The first step is to understand how Centennials are browsing and shopping for products.

Recently, PowerReviews surveyed more than 1,700 Centennial (13-18) and Millennial (19-34) consumers in the U.S. to better understand how the shopping habits of the two generations differ. The largest shakeup in shopper habits between the two generations is that more Centennials like shopping in-store. Could the Centennials be leading a return to in-store shopping?

Back In-Store?
When doing their research and browsing for products, 94% of Centennials and 96% of Millennials do so online. That probably comes as no surprise. Then, when it comes time to purchase, 63% of Millennials say they prefer to stay online, with just 37% opting to go in-store. However, Centennials are far more likely to go in-store to purchase, with 46% saying that this was their preference.

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Of course, it’s not the end of online shopping. Nearly half of the Centennials we surveyed said they’ve made up to three separate transactions online in the previous month. But could this indicate a future resurgence for in-store shopping? Time will tell.

What Can Retailers Do?
Though Centennials may be leading a return to in-store shopping, that certainly doesn’t mean brands and retailers should devalue their online initiatives. Instead, smart retailers must be flexible enough to evolve to meet each generation’s shopping needs and keep fine tuning the relationship between online and in-store.

What can you do now? For starters, make sure it’s easy for all shoppers to find the information they’re looking for — regardless of whether they’re browsing and buying online or in-store. Make sure you have reviews available on your mobile site and via mobile apps, and be sure to use reviews in-store, either through print advertisements or digital displays. Remember — reviews aren’t just a tool for those who browse and purchase online. Previous PowerReviews research found that 70% of shoppers want to access product ratings and reviews while shopping in-store.

If you don’t provide shoppers with the information they need to make a purchase decision, you risk losing them to a competitor who will.

Why do you think Centennials are more likely to purchase in-store? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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Faith Hinz

Faith Hinz is responsible for all content marketing and social media initiatives at PowerReviews. Faith has more than eight years of online and offline marketing experience. Most recently, she managed the social media, content marketing and thought leadership efforts at Apartments.com. In previous positions, Faith developed and executed marketing initiatives for a number of different industries, including insurance, nonprofit, healthcare and automotive.