Although the news of the “retail apocalypse,” poor store sales and bankruptcies has dominated today’s headlines, consumers are still flocking to stores — and retailers should take this as a great sign. As many as 78% of consumers are shopping in stores either about the same or more than they were a year ago, according to a survey from the National Retail Federation (NRF).
At a roundtable discussion at Shop.org, three industry thought leaders shared the findings from the inaugural Fall 2017 NRF Consumer View survey:
Mark Mathews, VP of Research Development and Industry Analysis at NRF;
Katherine Cullen, Director of Retail and Consumer Insights at NRF; and
Greg Buzek, President of IHL Group.
Younger generations — particularly Millennials and Gen Z — are leading this charge to visit stores more often. Roughly half (49%) of Millennials/Gen Zers surveyed said they’re shopping in stores more often than they were a year ago, compared to just 28% of the average consumer. The top reasons these demographics visit these stores more often include:
A new retail store or shopping center opened near them (52%);
Entertainment or food options (49%); and
Buy online/pickup in-store capabilities (45%).
“We’re seeing that a lot of research-type activities that happen earlier in the customer path-to-purchase are shifting online and onto mobile,” Cullen said during the discussion. “When customers are coming to the store, they’re further along in their decision-making process. They’re coming in the door armed with information, they know their options, they often know where they can find the best price and they know where else they can buy it.”
But the younger shoppers are more likely to view the store as an opportunity to explore: 48% of Gen Zers and 35% of Millennials say they typically visit the store just to browse.
“The key to retail as it continues to evolve will be understanding where the store falls on your customers’ purchasing journey and being able to adapt and give them the experience they need,” Cullen said.
Online Shoppers Are More Likely To Seek Shared Values, Show Brand Loyalty
While only 21% of shoppers make more than half of their purchases online, 48% of those shoppers always research a brand’s values. Also, 45% of them say they would stop shopping their favorite brand if it contradicted their values.
Online shoppers are more loyal to brands and retailers and are 2X to 3X more likely to perceive themselves as such. Up to 49% of online shoppers say they’re loyal to grocers, compared to only 31% of in-store shoppers.
Online shoppers also consider themselves loyal to:
Personal care and beauty (44% compared to 26% of in-store shoppers);
Clothing and accessories (41%; 19%);
Consumer electronics (40%; 19%);
Home improvement items or tools (37%; 13%); and
Home décor or home furnishings (36%; 10%).
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