GLOBAL: Despite living largely digital lives, two thirds of Generation Z consumers prefer to shop in a bricks-and-mortar store all the time, according to new research from IBM and the National Retail Federation.
The Uniquely Gen Z study conducted by the IBM Institute for Business Value was based on a survey of more than 15,000 consumers aged 13-21 from 16 countries. This found that 67% of respondents liked to always shop in-store, while 31% liked to do so sometimes.
This generation wields some $44bn in buying power, the study said, with 75% spending more than half of the money that is available to them each month, meaning that successful retailers need to be able to meet their needs and inspire loyalty.
Mostly that is about getting the basics right, including product quality/availability and value, cited by 66% and 65% of respondents respectively as the most important factors when choosing one brand over another.
More than half (52%) of these consumers were quite ready to transfer loyalty from one brand to another if they felt a brand's quality was not up to par.
But while they might prefer shopping in store, they expect to be engaged with a brand across all channels and, in this respect, retailers are lagging.
IBM's Customer Experience study of more than 500 brands in 24 countries showed that only 19% of retailers could provide a highly personalized digital shopping experience, and just 17% could offer anything more than in stock/out of stock information. Further, 84% did not offer any in-store mobile services.
Steve Laughlin, IBM General Manager of Global Consumer Industries, noted that retailers and brands faced a significant challenge in meeting the expectations Generation Z has of digital technology to be intuitive, relevant and engaging.
But, "this kind of innovation is not linear or a one-time project," he warned. "It is a new way of thinking, operating and behaving."
Data sourced from IBM; additional content by Warc staff