Oct 9, 2017
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PwC holiday outlook shows young Gen Z prefer shopping in store over online

Oct 9, 2017

PriceWaterhouse Coopers (PwC) has released its 2017 Holiday Outlook which reinforces the need for strong experiential marketing and contains good news for retailers, revealing Gen Z shoppers will be in store this year.

PwC studied just under 2,400 customers across the country. Gen Z is aged 13 through 21 but PwC also created a separate category for "young" Gen Z customers ages 13 through 16. Of the 300 young Gen Z shoppers, PwC found most prefer to do their shopping in store over online.

A huge 81% of young Gen Z customers said they prefer to do their holiday shopping in store, with 40 percent saying they will only shop in store. Shoppers over age 17 but still in Gen Z were split evenly between brick and mortar and online.

The study revealed an interesting preference among young Gen Z. While many retailers might have believed younger shoppers would use e-commerce as a matter of preference, the demographic is still relying on their families to transport them to malls for the social experience of mall shopping.

While Millennials appear to have been killing malls, leading stores to shy away from this kind of retail, Gen Z expressed a preference for malls. 60 percent of Gen Z said they prefer shopping at malls to boutiques or outlets. They also said that in-store specials, "fun experiences" and "live events" were key experiences they liked about going to malls.

Time will tell whether Gen Z ages out of their mall preference. Millennials stopped shopping at malls because they were not convenient and did not offer specialized product, rapidly becoming outdated in a new era of innovation.

Gen Z, particularly young teens, still live at home with their parents and many do not yet drive cars or have their own credit lines for online payment. While they use Apple Pay and wearables to pay at a rate almost double the use of other generations, Gen Z shoppers are still extremely dependent on their families compared to older shoppers. Regardless, the study revealed hope for the experiential nature of in-store shopping.

PwC's study also revealed Black Friday shopping has been on a steady decline of 24 percent since 2015. Consumers are waiting for deeper sales to make their purchases. Additionally, malls still face the issue of the largest spending generations seeking less mainstream, non-tangible gifts.

PwC's study showed Millennials prefer travel related gifts while Gen X and Boomers hope to receive gift cards. While sales may motivate certain purchases, the study revealed experiences will ultimately sell the brands to consumers with the largest spending power.

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