New research has found younger consumers are willing to head into high streets and physical stores and spend more money whilst doing so. The catch? Retailers must ensure they’re offering an engaging and personalised experience. This is according to a new report titled The Consumer Reconsidered from PwC, which shares insight into the reality of most shopping behaviours.
Demand for engaging in-store shopping, but perhaps not from who you think..
The growth of online retail over recent years has been well documented. Pandemic shopping habits significantly bolstered growth rates as physical stores endured prolonged periods of closure. Pre-pandemic, online accounted for 20% of retail sales, it then peaked at 37% in February 2021 during the third national lockdown, and it has now fallen back to 26%.
One big debate is whether online retail penetration will fall back to pre-pandemic levels of growth, with the shift to online contributing to the record levels of store closures seen in recent years in PwC’s Store Openings and Closures report for 2021.
The research shows there to be encouraging, and perhaps surprising, news for retailers with in-store and high street presence. This is particularly true of some segments of the population which will be largely responsible for the growth of retail, regardless of channel:
Younger consumers were also found to express more enthusiasm in visiting physical stores in general, with 65% of 18-24 year olds and 63% of 25-34 year olds saying they “love” visiting stores in-person.
“These findings were surprising; we see the attitudes of younger consumers directly challenging more typical assumptions around their preference to increasingly shop online. This flows through to sources of help and advice, where only 1% of consumers thought that social media and influencers were the most trusted pieces of advice for their purchases.
“While online has largely won the battle for price, range and convenience, the under-25s, as digital natives, are used to it. They now have higher expectations and are less wowed by its capabilities. As a result, they’re more enthusiastic about stores, with 65% of under 25s and 63% of 25-34s telling us they love going to physical shops. A similar number would also prefer to shop in store than online if they had the time.
“It’s not the end of the high street, but its saviour is likely to be younger customers, so the focus for physical store owners is how to attract these age groups seeking a fulfilling shopping experience.”
Targeted ads: What makes them creepy, makes them worth clicking on
The research finds that online targeted advertising is a polarising concept. Over half (57%) of all consumers thought targeted ads were creepy, yet this doesn’t limit them clicking on them.
The research suggests that a common reason why consumers may deem the ads creepy, in the collection of their information and preferences, could well be the same thing that makes them deem the ads helpful - as they in turn cater to their individual shopping interests. It would seem that despite hostility towards online advertising shown by some, this doesn’t hurt its effectiveness, as the research found a third of consumers agreeing that it is generally helpful:
Additionally, younger audiences are particularly receptive: 57% of under 25s and 41% of 25-34s find targeted ads helpful, with over 40% of those groups likely to click on them.
About the report
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