What Every Retailer Ought to Know About Gen Z

17 October 2017

We’ve been talking a lot about the Millennials and it’s probably the most ever studied generation. But now it’s time to focus on who’s coming next: the Generation Z comprised of people born after 2001. Yeah, it makes you realize how old you are… But despite being a bit depressing, retailers seriously need to start thinking about how they will please this new generation as they are expected to reach 2.6 billion by 2020 (1). Yes, there are a lot of them, and this huge new buying group is extremely important to retailers as it has access to $44 billion in buying power (1).

So here are a few things every retailer needs to know about the Gen Z.

They love stores

Contrary to what probably most people think, the Gen Z loves shopping in-store. According to a study from IBM & the National Retail Federation, 98% of Gen Z shop in brick-and-mortar stores and 46% will check in store to get more information before making an online purchase (2). Gen Z is not ditching the store despite the rise of online & mobile shopping. They like to come in-store because they want to touch and try the products and they like to get it immediately. However, they have higher expectations than their older counterparts. They expect a seamless in-store experience and if retailers don’t deliver they will walk away.

Read about the #1 thing that ruins a seamless in-store experience.

They don’t know the word patience

Whereas not all Millennials were born with the Internet, the Gen Z is a group of people who have never known a world without smartphones and other digital devices - they grew up with it. We are not talking about going home to use the dial-up internet there, Gen Z has known nothing else but Whatsapp, Instagram, Snapchat and 3G+ network. So what does that mean for retailers? Gen Zers’ experience growing up with this technology will affect their behaviours and attitudes towards shopping. They were born with the immediacy that comes with technology so they are not patient. For example, the members of the Gen Z are more likely to become frustrated if they can’t find the product that they want in-store. This also means they expect no queuing in-store and they want to have quickly the help of a store associate when needed. Retailers need to invest in technology to ensure a seamless and timely experience for those young shoppers.

They are all about experiences

Gen Z values experiences because social media has heaped pressure on them to be perceived by their peers as interesting, fun and having experience-rich lives (2). Gen Z documents their lives on social media so they are looking for a unique and fun experience when coming in-store. While most of their activity is digital, they will, however, plan store visits as excursions with friends and they will document it.

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