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Young People Would Rather Shop In Stores Than Online

Brick and mortar stores concur, "The report of our death was an exaggeration."

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Young People Would Rather Shop In Stores Than Online
[ Business]

The youth of today might not be able to so much as get out into the shower or start cooking microwave popcorn without having a smartphone or iPod attached to their face, but when it comes to shopping? They’re still got that old-fashioned streak of doing their shopping in brick and mortar stores. The idea that young people use technology to shop is, in a word, “overrated.”

A new survey, Shopping Trends Among 18-25 Year-Olds, conducted by a group of LIM College students and in conjunction with the NRF Student Association, revealed that 68% of young people aged 18-25 years “prefer to shop in stores than online for apparel and shoes.” In announcing the release, Alexis Michaelides, student leader of the LIM College’s campus NRF Student Association, said, “We have read and observed what industry leaders had been saying about our use of technology for shopping and it did not match our own habits and preferences.”

The study also contains a bit of good news for all of those brick and mortar stores who feel like they’re living under the Amazon sword. Another member of the LIM College NRFSA team, Nicole Flasch-Mihalko, added, “Retail observers have been significantly overestimating our use of online and digital technology for shopping. We like shopping in stores and are not as engaged in shopping on the Internet as many have touted. I guess the demise of the brick and mortar format of retailing– at least for 18-25 year-olds– is grossly exaggerated.”

Some key take-aways from the study:

  • 68 % of 18-25 year-olds would much rather shop in stores than online for apparel and shoes, suggesting that they like to touch, feel and try on a product before buying.
  • And while 68% prefer to shop in stores, they are using the Web for gathering information — with 66% using the Web to browse and compare prices.
  • Only 23% shop from a tablet or a smart phone.
  • The 18-25 year old is not as impulsive as commonly believed.
  • The survey found that 66% like to think about their purchase before buying.
  • 56% of 18-25 year olds pay for most of their purchases via debit cards vs. cash or credit cards.
  • Even as the earliest adopters, only 20% shop from flash sale sites such as Rue La La, Gilt Groupe, etc. In fact, the majority do not know of them.
  • With regards to social media, this consumer will “like” a brand on Facebook, but more than 88% do not yet want to shop thru Facebook/Twitter.
  • What’s funny is that the second bullet point up there is exactly the opposite of that oh-so treacherous Amazon Price Check app that infuriated everybody during the recent Christmas holiday. And since it only mentions apparel and shoes as items that young people shop for in brick and mortar stores, does that mean they are either purchasing media (e.g., movies, music) online? (I bet they’re just stealin’ that swag via their ultra-fast dorm room Internet connection.)

    While this is a intriguing study, it’d be more telling and reliable if the results could be duplicated among a larger sample size and, perhaps, inclusive of a broader geography of youngsters since, I’m assuming, that the survey only included data from Manhattanites since LIM is located there. Have you been to brick and mortar stores in NYC? It’s considerably different than the weekend trips to Target or the local mall.

    Nevertheless. Carry on, my wayward brick and mortar sons!

    Young People Would Rather Shop In Stores Than Online
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    • Alexis

      Hi Drew,

      I’m one of the members of LIM College’s NRFSA. Thanks for covering our survey results! We also found them to be very surprising.

      To your last point about the geographic diversity of our survey respondents, all members of the LIM NRFSA used their Facebooks to reach out to friends across the country. Though the majority of respondents were from the Northeast, we did have respondents from the South, Midwest & Western regions of the U.S. Surprisingly, when we compared the percent of those in the Northeast who preferred to shop in stores with those from across the rest of the U.S., the percents differed by less than one-tenth of a percent.