Survey finds digital natives prefer in-store experience to online shopping

- July 16, 2019 2 MIN READ

The in-store shopping experience remains an important part of the retail environment for all generations, according to research by The Retail Doctor and NetSuite.

The survey conducted by Wakefield Research of1,200 consumers and 400 retail executives across the U.S., U.K. and Australia dispelled stereotypes around generations and found big differences in generational expectations across baby boomers, Gen X, millennials and Gen Z.

Despite the expectation that digital natives would prefer online shopping to an instore experience, the study found Gen Z and millennials (43 per cent) are the most likely group to do in-store shopping this year, followed by Gen X (29  per cent) and baby boomers (13 per cent).

Gen Z and millennials (57 per cent) also had the positive view of their current retail experiences, describing it as inviting, while baby boomers were like to find the instore experience the least inviting of all.

Despite this, Gen Z was the most easily annoyed by retail assistants. 42 per cent of Gen Z say they feel more annoyed from increased interation with shop assistants. In contrast, millennials (56 per cent), Gen X (44 per cent) and baby boomer (43 per cent) all suggested they would feel more welcomed by more in-store interactions.

Over three-quarters of retailers surveyed (79 per cent) believe having AI and VR in stores will increase sales. However, the study found that these technologies are not yet widely accepted by any generation. Overall, only 14 percent of consumers believe that emerging technologies like AI and VR will have a significant impact on their purchase decisions.

“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,” said Greg Zakowicz, senior commerce marketing analyst, 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 this study clearly shows, retailers need to think carefully about how they meet the needs of different generations.”



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