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‘Digitally Native’ generation still prefer shops

New figures reveal the first fully ‘digitally native’ generation still prefer brick and mortar shopping to online browsing.

Released by IBM and the National Retail Federation, the study reveals a massive majority of ‘Generation Z’ consumers between the ages of 13-21 still prefer physical shopping environments.

Specifically described as being born between the mid-1990s and early 2000s, Generation Z are the first children to grow up into the digital age, into a world of mobile phones, home computing and the internet.

67% of Generation Z prefer shopping in-store most of the time, with a further 31% still often shopping on high streets, indicating that just 2% of the ‘always on’ generation only shop online.

“Just as Millennials overtook Gen X, there’s another big buying group retailers need to plan for, and it’s even larger: Generation Z,” National Retail Federation President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “They appreciate the hands-on experience of shopping in a store.”

The global population of ‘Gen Z’ is set to reach 2.6 Billion by 2020, and are expected bring a huge amount of buying power, as estimates suggest the new generation have access to around $44 billion in disposable income.

66% say that product quality and availability are the top factors when choosing brand, although value is another major focus as over half admit to a lack of brand loyalty compared to other generations.

As technology is continuing to evolve, and eCommerce has changed to reflect that, a main concern for retail has been to not get left in the dust, with Mr Shay explaining that retailers need to continue to be “agile” if they want to stay relevant.

“Retailers are constantly focused on experimenting with new innovations both online and in-store to remain relevant to evolving consumer demand.”

 

Retailers that shun technology risk major dip in consumer confidence…

Three quarters (75 per cent) of UK shoppers say they have more confidence in retailers that use up-to-date technology, with Londoners and the under-35s considered the most judgmental. 

Conducted to support the launch of Worldpay’s My Business Hub till system – an all-in one, tablet based point-of-sale (POS) created to help independent retailers transition into the digital age – the payment company’s research found that 80 per cent of respondents in these demographic groups said they are more likely to trust retailers that utilise up-to-date technology than those that do not. Many state tech-savvy retailers come across as more professional and committed to improving the overall experience. 

Among the 2,000 consumers surveyed, only seven per cent said they had concerns that technology could get in the way of delivering the type of experience they were looking for in-store. 

Retailers that refuse debit and credit card payments provoked a particularly strong reaction within the research, as one in five under-35s said they would be concerned about the quality of products in stores that only took cash, and a further 22 per cent have abandoned purchases when their preferred payment option is not available.  

Dave Hobday, UK managing director at Worldpay, said: “Consumers still have a strong connection to the high street, but technology has transformed their expectations. Today’s digitally driven shoppers want to be able to research their purchases online, seek advice from staff in-store, pay in any way that they choose, and return items at the click of a button. Businesses that fail to offer that level of service are increasingly viewed with suspicion. 

“80 per cent of consumers think retailers could be making better use of technology to improve the instore experience, so it’s reassuring that similar proportions of high street businesses see technology as holding the key to their future survival. Innovations like My Business Hub ensure that great technology is easily accessible to all business. Small businesses need to embrace change and digitally evolve in order to thrive as part of a modern and diverse high street.”   

Cash only payments, handwritten receipts and the lack of a website were among the main ‘technology triggers’ which led consumers to think twice about whether or not to part with their money. 41 per cent of consumers said trustworthy retailers make it easy to pay by card as well as cash; while 39 per cent said they trusted retailers who offered digital receipts to make returns easier.  

Learn more about ‘MyBusinessHub’ here 

Consumer frustration with in-store and online grocery shopping…

According to a new report commissioned by the retail app, Ubamarket, a vast majority of consumers are becoming more and more frustrated with online and in-store food shopping; with 66 per cent of the 2,007 individuals surveyed claiming a high level of dissatisfaction with in-store shopping is due to not being able to find the products they want, as well as long till queues.

The ‘Reviving Retail 2016’ report details a further 71 per cent of  UK online grocery customers were unhappy with the quality of service they received, indicating the main reasons behind a less than successful experience is down to a lack of being able to pick produce items, in addition to receiving unwanted replacement items.

You can read the founder and CEO of Ubamarket, Will Brrome’s ‘Keeping Up with the Times: Why Food Shopping Needs to Change’ blog here

Industry Spotlight: Free loyalty app service for ‘Brexit-threatened’ retail and restaurant businesses…

Actively progressing with its future in the competitive field of mobile consumer technology after raising £190,000 via angel investors to develop its ‘proximity engagement’ technology, the mobile start-up, Wallet Circle, is redefining its business model post-Brexit; inviting retail businesses of all sizes to join its loyalty app free of charge.

The company, which was founded in 2014 and has an estimated 100 retail customers ranging from The Savanna to Whitworth Pharmacy, has announced it will set up a customised mobile loyalty card and supply an iBeacon – acting as a digital version of an ink-stamp – together with business cards and flyers for free and is eligible to all retail, restaurant and café businesses in the UK.

Co-founder of Wallet Circle, Manas Abichandani, commented: “Wallet Circle is adapting to the changing economic times. We understand that businesses both big and small have become more cautious and will only invest in new technology when there is a definite ROI. In response, we have decided to let businesses join our loyalty app for free so they can grow their user base with no risk and no obligation.”

He continued: “Only once they see lots of their customers using Wallet Circle’s app, and believe in its potential, they can choose to upgrade to our premium tier, which starts from £25 a month, to help them engage with these users.”

Nonetheless, Abichandani expressed that retailers should not feel required to sign up to the premium service: “We obviously hope that retailers will recognise the value of customer insight and the means to act upon it but we will not force retailers to upgrade. Regardless, as a paperless loyalty card, businesses can make tangible savings on design and print as well as doing their bit for the environment.”

According to the company, this new approach has generated substantial traction and is attracting new business customers weekly, including restaurant and café chain Benugo, which is said to be trialing Wallet Circle’s app to provide loyalty cards in its London outlets.

Wallet Circle is currently available via the app store for iPhone and Android.

 

To get started with Wallet Circle, click here

Mintel: Thrifty shopping ‘an asset’ for UK consumers…

New research conducted by the market research provider, Mintel, a frugal shopping mentality is now considered to be an ‘asset’ to UK consumers, with Yorkshire and Humberside residents voted as the country’s biggest ‘bargain hunters’.

The ‘British Lifestyles: Growing Tired of Austerity UK 2016 reportfound that 78 per cent of consumers residing in this region brand ‘bargain hunting’ as a thrill, with 54 per cent stating that they budget every month for treats such as dinners and cinema trips; compared to the national average of 48 per cent. Furthermore, 74 per cent admitted to shopping around for the lowest prices and 51 per cent claim that they do not like to pay full price for items.

Senior consumer and lifestyles analyst at Mintel, Ina Mitskavets, says that even though ‘savvy shopping’ has increased in popularity, retailers still need to enforce a tighter strategy on the promotion and amount of discounts to avoid a damaged reputation: “The savvy shopping mentality is still firmly entrenched in the UK today. If anything, it has been reinforced by the widespread discounting and price wars across a variety of sectors in the post-recession years. Scoring discounts has evolved from a chore into a form of entertainment, or even a full-fledged hobby. However, while it is clear that consumers now expect to see reduced prices and special offers in shops, widespread promotions can be damaging to business reputations and bottom lines. The focus for many companies going forward should be on weaning customers off discounts through better service and quality improvements.”

Clothing purchases demonstrated to be the biggest splurge made by the UK public, followed by meals out (28 per cent), holidays (27 per cent), a night out (22 per cent), technology items and gadgets (20 per cent), alcohol (20 per cent), and beauty or personal care products (17 per cent).

Read more of the report’s findings here