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“Digital natives” most likely to shop in-store

Gen Z and millennials are more likely than older generations to do more in-store shopping this year than than last year, according to new research from Wakefield Research, Oracle Netsuite and The Retail Doctor, a US-based consultancy.

The study, which surveyed 1200 consumers and 400 retail executives across Australia, the US and the UK, found that 43 per cent of Gen Z and millennials said they would do more in-store shopping this year, whereas only 29 per cent of Gen X and 13 per cent of baby boomers shared this view.

At the same time, however, Gen Z were most likely to feel frustrated by their interactions with store associate, with 42 per cent not enjoying increased attention from in-store staff. This suggests younger shoppers want to go in-store, but want to shop on their own terms.

“After all the talk about bricks-and-mortar being dead, it’s interesting to see that ‘digital natives’ are more likely to increase their shopping in physical stores this year than any other generation,” said Greg Zakowicz, senior commerce marketing analyst at Oracle NetSuite.

“Stepping back, these findings fit with broader trends we have been seeing around the importance of immediacy and underlines why retailers cannot afford to make assumptions about the needs and expectations of different generations.

“It really is a complex puzzle and as the study clearly shows, retailers need to think carefully about how they meet the needs of different generations.”

When it comes to social media, for instance, retail executives may be overestimating the impact. While 98 per cent of retail executives believe engaging with customers on social media builds stronger relationships, only 12 per cent of consumers across generations agree.

Gen Z (65 per cent) and millennials (63 per cent) believe their interactions with a brand on social media directly impact their relationship with that brand, but more than half of baby boomers and 29 per cent of Gen X consumers simply don’t engage with brands in this way.

Additionally, while 79 per cent of retail executives are looking to implementing AI and VR in stores to increase sales, only 14 per cent of consumers believe technologies such as these will have an impact on their purchasing decisions.

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