People carry shopping bags outside a shopping mall in New York, New York, USA, 20 December 2017.Holiday shopping in New York, USA - 20 Dec 2017

The future of physical retail might be in the hands of Generation Z. Luckily for retailers, the demographic has a penchant for shopping in stores, according to a new Criteo report focused on the spending habits of the set. The younger consumers continue to display a preference for engaging with brands both online and off-line, albeit for different purposes.

“Gen Z is at the forefront of the mobile commerce revolution, and represents a crucial opportunity for marketers as they develop lifelong brand loyalties,” said Jonathan Opdyke, chief strategy officer of Criteo. “While specific shopping habits may vary, Gen Zers are native omni-shoppers who like to visit stores but prefer to take care of their shopping needs online. In order to deliver a personalized experience on all touch points, brands and retailers need to employ a data-driven approach to connect Gen Z customers with unique, on-trend products.”

Surveying “thousands” of Generation Z individuals in the U.K., U.S., France, Germany, Brazil and Germany, the poll aimed to decipher new shopping behaviors within the demographic, a Criteo spokesman said.

Generation Z continues to visit physical stores, the research discovered. “Eighty percent [of Gen Z consumers] look forward to shopping in stores when they have time,” said the report. This is mainly due the opportunity to interact with product prior to purchasing. “Sixty-five percent don’t like to buy a product unless they can touch them,” the report said.

Not only are Gen Zers heading to physical shops to interact with items before buying them, they’re looking for style inspiration. “Seventy-one percent said they enjoy shopping in store to understand new styles,” the report said. And they’re eager to try new shops, too. Eighty percent like to visit new retail spots, the report confirmed.

Getting them in the door might not be the challenge, but keeping them off their phones might be a feat. According to the survey, 67 percent used their phones in-store to research purchases they’re considering.

The survey discovered that Generation Z shoppers are also looking for different features from brick-and-mortars, namely unique store design, more than other generations.

And though they’re visiting brick-and-mortar locations, Generation Z shoppers crave convenience like older demographics. The research found that 75 percent of Gen Zers prefer to do as much online shopping as possible. For health and beauty products, the research found that 51 percent compare products within a site and 30 percent regularly visit multiple web sites.

In other words, doubling down on omnichannel shouldn’t leave business strategies anytime soon.

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