Why does Gen Z like brick-and-mortar stores but not malls?
Despite the widespread popularity of online shopping, a recent study suggests that preferring to buy online could be a generational thing. Generation Z would actually rather shop in stores, according to a study conducted by IBM and the National Retail Federation.
An international survey of customers between the ages of 13 to 21 found that 67 percent of Generation Z shoppers do most of their shopping in-store, and 31 percent do so occasionally, as reported by Racked. Surprisingly, while Generation Zers spend the majority of their free time online, very little of it is spent shopping. And though this should bode well for once-popular teen hangouts like malls and their anchor department stores, such struggling locations hardly draw the teenage demographic they once did.
The article attributes malls’ inability to draw teen shoppers primarily to a boring shopping experience contrasted against the bright, always-changing look and feel of dominant fast-fashion retailers. There is also the overlooked fact that teenagers may have limited access to personal credit cards, making online shopping difficult.
There are other elements of the shopping experience that may also play into Generation Z not making it out to the malls and department stores despite being fans of brick-and-mortar shopping. As cited in a Time article, parental supervision policies are now common in malls and markedly fewer teens work in mall retail than once did, meaning fewer teens hanging out and shopping when they get off of work.
A lack of fashionable product selection also plays into why Generation Zers don’t shop malls or department stores. But these locations may have something to offer this demographic if a report by Piper Jaffray reported on CNBC is correct.
The report, released in late 2016, indicated that the athleisure trend may be on its last lap around the track. Yoga pants and other athleisure offerings more likely to be sold in sportswear stores than department stores, are giving way to the old department store standby — denim. In fact, mall mainstay American Eagle is the top destination for denim among upper-income teenage girls.
- Teens Actually Like Shopping in Stores More Than Online – Racked
- Why Teens Hate Shopping at ‘Teen’ Clothing Stores – Time
- Teen shoppers say denim is cool again, as fashion athletic loses steam – CNBC
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How can department stores, malls and other retailers make the most of Generation Z’s penchant for shopping in physical stores? Will we see a bigger swing back to brick-and-mortar shopping as Generation Z ages or is it more likely they will gravitate toward online shopping?