be-nz logo
Story image

Retail study challenges myth that digital natives only shop online

04 Jul 2019

The bricks-and-mortar retail store still plays a major part in consumers’ shopping experiences – and despite beliefs that the younger generation prefers to shop online, they’re actually the most likely to do more shopping in physical stores.

A recent study of 1200 consumers and retail executives in Australia, the United States, and the United Kingdom contradicts some major perceptions about how people from different generations like to shop.

Despite being stereotyped as “digital natives”, Gen Z and millennials (43%) are most likely to do more in-store shopping this year followed by Gen X (29%) and baby boomers (13%).

However, Gen Z likes to shop without being bothered too much by retail assistants, with 42% feeling more annoyed by interactions. Millennials (56%), Gen X (44%) and Baby Boomers (43%) are more likely to welcome in-store interactions.

“After all the talk about brick and mortar stores 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,” comments Oracle NetSuite senior commerce marketing analyst Greg Zakowicz.

While retailers may consider adopting emerging technologies such as augmented and virtual reality, most consumers aren’t fussed about them.

The study found that 79% of retail executives believe that emerging technologies will help to increase sales, however only 14% of consumers say those technologies will have a significant impact on their purchase decisions.

However, emerging tech in retail stores is most attractive to millennials (50%) followed by Gen Z (38%), Gen X (35%) and baby boomers (20%). Amongst the Baby Boomers, 59% said virtual reality would have no influence on their purchase decisions at all.

Retailers’ approach to social media may also be missing the mark, according to the study. 

While 98% of retail executives believe social media engagement with consumers is key to building stronger relationships, only 12% of consumers think their engagement with brands on social media has a significant impact on the way they think or feel about a brand.

Among those who engage with brands on social media, Gen Z (38%) consumers are much more likely than other generations to engage with retailers on social to get to know the brand compared to millennials (25%) and baby boomers (21%).

Gen Z (65%) consumers and millennials (63%) believe their engagement with brands on social media platforms have an impact on their relationship with brands.

More than half of baby boomers (53%) and 29% of Gen X consumers do not engage with brands on social media.

“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 this study clearly shows, retailers need to think carefully about how they meet the needs of different generations,” concludes Zakowicz.

The study was conducted by Oracle NetSuite, Wakefield Research and The Retail Doctor.

Story image
Distributed workforces pose new challenges for information management
“Collaboration can be stymied, mistakes can be made, and organisations can suffer data breaches if they don’t immediately address the issue of how employees are accessing and sharing information while working remotely.”More
Story image
Microsoft business applications support safer workspaces
A pre-built Power Platform solution includes location readiness for safe office reopening, employee health and safety management, workplace care management, and location management. More
Story image
Zebra launches new proximity solution designed for post COVID-19 workforce
“Zebra’s MotionWorks Proximity ensures that our customers can continue operations whilst protecting their employees health and safety in the workplace.”More
Story image
Globalization Partners expands APAC presence
The company helps organisations to expand internationally without the need for branch offices or subsidiaries.More
Story image
Company-X cofounder joins Waikato Regional Skills Leadership Group
David Hallett was elected as the group’s information and communication technology (ICT) and creative representative, where he will help to increase opportunities for those who have become unemployed and those who want to make a career in ICT.More
Story image
3.96 billion people now use social media
“Social media has been an integral part of the way we communicate with one another for a long time, but this evolution shows just how much it impacts multiple aspects of our lives right now, and in the future."More