Spotlight on young shoppers

Retail, shopping, consumerYoung shoppers are more likely to only buy online from shops that have a physical store, says a survey by GfK.

GfK’s Global Young Shopper survey questioned shoppers aged 16 to 21 in 10 markets around the world and found that this new generation of digital natives loves the environment of the store, and values the interaction it offers.

Point one: More young people say they will only buy from retailers that have a physical presence.

Survey results show more young people will only buy from retailers that have a physical presence. Younger shoppers are slightly more likely than older people to shun shopping online altogether, however only a small percentage of 16 to 21 year olds never shop online.

The gulf is widest in the personal electronics category, where 12 percentage points separate younger and older shoppers (26 per cent and 18 per cent respectively say they would only buy online from shops that have a bricks and mortar presence).


Point two: Retailers must join the dots to satisfy the omni-channel generation.

Research confirms that young shoppers are an omni-channel generation, expecting a seamless experience between the two environments. Two thirds think that retailers should provide customer support in stores, even if they have bought online.

This means retailers must offer a fully integrated service, with products and information available across all channels. Young people expect to be able go online to check stock in a physical store, to return their online purchases to physical stores, and to access customer support wherever and whenever they need it.

Point three: Experiencing the product is most important for high ticket items.

For more expensive and high involvement categories, young shoppers expect to be able to buy instore. In seven of the 10 markets surveyed, 16 to 21 year olds were more likely to shop exclusively in stores for mobile phones. For this age group to fully appreciate what phone is the right one, a visit to a store to see it and handle the product and to talk to sales staff in person is essential.



Research shows that for young people, online shopping is not the default option, and retail markets are not, as some may have predicted, progressing relentlessly towards 100 per cent e-commerce. Instead physical stores and virtual shopping are likely to co-exist with improved synergy, supported by solutions such as virtual fitting rooms and click and collect.

While they are completely at ease shopping on mobile phones and tablets, 16 to 21 year olds continue to value visiting a physical store, particularly when they are purchasing more expensive and higher engagement items. They also see a shop as the place to go for customer support, regardless of where an item was bought. It is essential that retailers understand these attitudes, and the nuances within each category, if they are to meet the demands of the next generation of customers.

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