Gen Z expect more from in-store

A Nielsen study commissioned by American Express Canada looks at the youth cohort's shopping expectations.
CMO Research

A survey commissioned by American Express Canada and conducted by Nielsen reveals a gap between the unique needs of Gen Z and what retailers are prioritizing.

In the survey, 51% of retailer respondents (of which there were with 200, operating businesses in QSR, retail and technology) say there is a need to reach and better understand this burgeoning generation, while 25% of those retailers say they currently market to Gen Z.

“The results of the study reinforce that there’s a gap to bridge between expectations and what retailers are delivering,” according to Kerri-Ann Santaguida, vice president and general manager, global merchant and network services, American Express Canada.

She says, however, that there is a strong opportunity for retailers who are taking action today as the cohort continues to grow and wield influence.

“Digital payment is one area where retailers are on track when it comes to Gen Z expectations,” says Santaguida. She says 35% of consumer respondents (the survey also included 400 Gen Z consumers age 15 to 22) “expect the option to pay in-store using mobile wallet, in-app or contact-less solutions. And 32% of retailers currently accept these.” Another 57% of retailers say they’re beginning to invest in digital payment technology.

Another positive development, Santaguida says, is that retailers are prioritizing social media as a sales tool, with 33% of retailers reporting they are investing in social to drive sales. Another 25% are considering an investment in strategic social media marketing that directly targets Gen Z, while 50% aren’t considering an investment at all.

“[Gen Z is also] an extremely grounded and savvy generation,” says Santaguida. This shrewdness is highlighted in the survey’s findings, with 72% of Gen Z respondants currently saving money for future expenses/investments and 33% paying for 100% of their personal items.

According to the survey, 65% of Gen Zers prefer to shop at bricks and mortar, double the number of those who prefer to shop online. In a world increasingly ruled by digital, Santaguida says many retailers have shifted focus away from bricks and mortar and “only 23% are offering unique, in-store experiences, which is one of the main factors that influence Gen Z to shop in store.”