Ecommerce Guide

Are Younger Shoppers Abandoning Online Retailers In Favour Of Shopping In Store?

This week has seen the publication of a report that seems to fly in the face of much of what we all know about the rise of ecommerce…

The past few years has seen a dramatic rise in online shopping across the globe, a rise so strong that it has led to some commentators to state that traditional high street shopping is dead and that we will be buying the vast majority of our goods online in the near future. However, a report by AMP Capital, a leading investment house (who it should be noted own a number of large shopping centres) has revealed that in Australia, younger shoppers are going back to basics with their shopping habits.

The report, called “A to Gen Z: Shopping with the Future Generation” was compiled by AMP Capital through an online survey of 1700 Australian and New Zealander shoppers in the 18-22 age group who are defined as ‘Generation Z’. So, are younger shoppers really are turning their back on online shopping? Is shopping online is as important as ever for the younger generation?

“87% of Australians aged between 18-22 love shopping in store whereas only 79% of the same age group love shopping online.”

This is the statistic that has heralded some headlines to state that younger Australians are turning their back on ecommerce and choosing instead to shop more in store. However, on closer inspection, it doesn’t really say this at all and doesn’t give us any insight into their actual shopping habits.

There’s no doubt that shopping in store can be a very satisfying experience, especially in terms of items such as footwear or clothing where it is useful to closely inspect the items. It’s true too that many in the 18-22 age group see shopping as a social activity, furthering their enjoyment of the in store shopping experience. However, loving shopping in store is very different from actually shopping and spending money in store. Survey after survey has revealed that we are all shopping more and more online such as the annual survey by UPS and comScore that reveals online shopping is up year after year, with consumers doing 47% of all their online shopping online in 2014, 48% in 2015 and 51% in 2016.

Speaking to CNBC about the report, Managing Director of AMP Capital Mark Kirkland said that he does not believe that more young people loving shopping in store is a bad thing necessarily for online retailers. Kirkland said he believes it should be “business as usual” and that “these future shoppers still head online to research potential purchases before going to the [shopping] centers to make that decision.”

This too flies in the face of much of what we know about current shopping habits which suggest that the opposite is true, that people do their research on the high street before going home to buy online (or more and more purchasing whilst out and about on their smartphone). Indeed, the often cited reason for the closure of high street bookshops is that people like to browse for items in there before ordering online off Amazon where they are almost always cheaper. Shopping in store is undoubtedly often a pleasurable experience but to imply that it is being done at the expense of online shopping is a step too far.

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Scott Bretton

Scott Bretton

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