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Study: The first ‘digitally native’ generation shops in stores


Generation Z grew up online, but that doesn’t mean that’s where they do all their shopping.

Sixty-seven percent of Gen Z — the first “digitally native” group to grow up not knowing a world before cellular phones, smartphones and other digital devices — said they shop in a bricks-and-mortar store most of the time, with another 31% shopping in-store sometimes, in a new survey by IBM and the National Retail Federation.

Regardless of which channel they shop, Gen Z is demanding, according to the “Uniquely Gen Z” study conducted by the IBM Institute for Business Value Fifty-two percent of Gen Z consumers will transfer loyalty from one brand to another if the brand’s quality is not up to par. They care the most about retailers getting the basics right, with 66% saying product quality and availability are the most important factors when choosing one brand over another; 65% focus on value.

With the global Gen Z population set to reach 2.6 billion by 2020, retailers need to create more interactive engagement around their brands to serve the “always on,” mobile-focused, high-spending demographic, according to the study.

“Generation Z expects technology to be intuitive, relevant and engaging — their last great experience is their new expectation,” IBM general manager of global consumer industries Steve Laughlin said. “This presents a significant challenge for retailers and brands to create a personalized, interactive experience with the latest digital advances or risk falling behind.

In other findings about Gen Z:

• They have no patience for hard-to-use technology and demand a seamless mobile/digital experience. Sixty-two percent will not use apps or websites that are difficult to navigate and 60% will not use apps or websites that are slow to load.

• Seventy-three percent use their phones primarily to text and chat socially with family and friends, but members are willing to extend their conversations to brand relationships. Forty-two percent would participate in an online game for a campaign and 43% would participate in a product review.

• Less than 30% are willing to share health and wellness, location, personal life or payment information; 61% would feel better sharing personal information if they knew it would be securely stored and protected.
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