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Survey: Gen Y still drawn to brick-and-mortar

New York -- Despite their love of the internet, Generation Y shoppers remain loyal brick-and-mortar shoppers, according to survey results by the Urban Land Institute. One caveat, however, is that the physical shopping experience must be exciting.

“Generation Y thoroughly enjoys shopping and frequently visits most types of centers,” according to the researchers in the study “Generation Y: Shopping and Entertainment in the Digital Age.” “However, the challenging corollary is that 18- to 35-year-olds are bored easily, so they’re on the lookout for new excitement — online, in brick-and-mortar setting and in restaurants. Sensory aspects of retail facilities need to evolve constantly in order to retain young shoppers’ patronage.”

In January, ULI and Lachman Associates conducted the online survey and found that more than half of all Gen-Yers go at least one a month to the following retail formats:

  • Discount department stores (91%);
  • Neighborhood and community shopping centers (74%);
  • Enclosed malls (64%);
  • Full-line department stores (64%);
  • Big-box power centers (63%);
  • Chain apparel stores (58%); and
  • Neighborhood business districts (54%).

Gen-Yers are turning to the web to research products, compare prices, envision how clothing or accessories would look on them, or responding to flash sales or coupon offers. Yet, when it comes to actual purchasing, stores still dominate. Gen-Yers are multichannel shoppers but the most popular store types among this group are discount department stores and warehouse clubs.

It is important to note, however, that 91% of Gen Y shoppers made online purchases over the previous six months, and 45% spend more than an hour per day looking at retail-oriented websites, the study found.

When it comes to cosmetics and personal care products, the study found that 77% of Gen-Yers shop in stores.

© 2014