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Members of Generation Z prefer shopping in a store to shopping online, per a recent study from the NRF and IBM. In fact, virtually all survey respondents said they prefer making purchases in a store most (67%) or some (31%) of the time, with the analysts attributing this in part to their younger age and lack of access to credit cards.

The survey – fielded among 15,600 respondents aged 13-21 in 16 countries – reveals that far fewer (22%) prefer making purchase using a web browser “most of the time,” though a majority have this as a preference “some of the time.”

The results align with previous research from Retail Perceptions, in which a majority (64%) of Gen Z respondents (this time aged 14-19) purported to preferring bricks to clicks.

Shopping in store can lead to impulse purchases, according to separate research. In a recently-released study that focused on Gen Z in the US, Sensis and Think Now Research found 56% of respondents agreeing that seeing an item in a store encourages a purchase.

The studies demonstrate that despite being digital natives, not everything is digital for these consumers. For example, half of those responding to the Sensis survey agree that discovering an item through a friend or family member encourages a purchase, and almost one-quarter are inspired to make purchases by seeing an item in a magazine or catalog. Additionally, recent research finds that Gen Z prefers traditional advertising formats to digital ones.

When deciding where to purchase a product, availability is key, with two-thirds of respondents to the NRF and IBM survey wanting very few products to ever be out of stock. Value is also important, as 65% want to get a lot for their money, with discount, coupons and a reward program.

With regards to brands themselves, the various pieces of research indicate that:

  • Males (54%) and females (47%) like brands their friends like (Sensis/Think Now Research);
  • Males (62%) are more apt than females (52%) to relate to brands that make them look cool (Sensis/Think Now Research);
  • Almost half (45%) choose brands that are eco-friendly and socially responsible (NRF/IBM);
  • Two-thirds agree that it matters to them that the brand sells high-quality products (NRF/IBM); and
  • Almost half (46%) agree that their friends’ recommendations and opinions matter to them when they are choosing a brand (NRF/IBM).

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