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Generation Z leads the omnichannel parade


When it comes to combining in-store visits and online product research or purchase, Generation Z (ages 18 to 26) leads all other shopper age groups in the U.S., lending some spark an otherwise flat “omnishopping” environment.

Just-released findings from GfK’s annual FutureBuy study show that nearly half (46%) of all Gen Z shoppers in the US have researched an item on a mobile device and then bought it in a store – a strategy known as “webrooming.” That level is up 5 percentage points from 2015 and beats other generations by 12 to 27 points.

One-third (32%) of Gen Z US shoppers report they researched a product in a bricks-and-mortar store and then bought it online via a mobile device (“showrooming”). This compares to 24% just a year ago, and bests other generations by 11 to 20 percentage points.

Frequency of showrooming is also higher among the younger generations, with Gens Y (ages 27 to 36) and Z much more likely to say they showroom at least once a week. Generation X (ages 37 to 51), on the other hand, tends to fall into the “once every few weeks to once a month” category.

Overall, webrooming – reported by one-third (34%) of all US shoppers – is much more common than showrooming (21% of US shoppers).

Somewhat surprisingly, Gen Z was also most likely to cite concerns about credit card and personal information security as a reason to avoid shopping online. One-third of all Gen Z shoppers in the US mentioned this worry, up from 26% last year. But the top reason for avoiding online shopping remains the cost of delivery, cited by 50% of all shoppers and 51% of Gen Z.

“These findings really illustrate that generation is a major factor in determining how someone prefers to shop,” said Joe Beier, EVP on GfK’s Shopper and Retail Strategy team. “They also offer a stark reminder of the importance of tightly defining the target audiences for any activation initiatives. The days of ‘one size fits all’ are clearly over.”

GfK’s annual FutureBuy study measures the shifting interactions of digital and in-person activities in the shopper experience, tracking essential trends such as “showrooming” and “webrooming.”
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