Despite Gen Z’s penchant for technology and easy access to shopping online and via social channels like Instagram, the demographic is leading the return to brick and mortar. With a desire for experiential retail and personalized shopping, they are headed back into stores in far greater numbers than their Millenial peers—according to a new report by Ubimo.
The data suggests that the generation of true digital natives, who are expected to comprise 40 percent of all US consumers in 2020, isn’t necessarily looking to spend all their time in stores shopping. The data suggests they prefer supporting brands that fuse an interactive, in-store experience with convenient online shopping.
Given that 80 percent of Gen Z said they not only shop in store but actually look forward to it, immersive experiences for this generation are key for driving foot traffic. Almost two-thirds of Gen Z want to touch, feel and experience products before making a purchase. Additionally, 53 percent of Gen Z are willing to travel up to 30 minutes from home to pick up their purchase from a physical store—a sharp contrast to the instant gratification ethos Millennials live by.
Ubimo examined brick and mortar locations of four of the largest direct-to-consumer (DTC) digital native brands—Amazon’s 4-Star stores, Everlane, Casper and Warby Parker—and compared them to their traditional counterparts. All four brands saw an average of 45 percent lift—defined as the percentage of demographic compared to their percentage of the entire population—at stores among Gen Z shoppers while Millennials accounted for one percent of the lift.
Digital-born brands are increasingly entering the physical retail space to attract Gen Z shoppers and thereby out-performing their older counterparts. Casper, for example, currently operates 20 locations and plans to open 200 more in the coming years. The company’s stores include an immersive set-up to showcase its mattresses in cozy cabins. The brand also operates The Dreamery in Manhattan, where visitors can take a 45-minute nap on a Casper mattress, accompanied by pajamas and refreshments, for a fee. Industry giant Mattress Firm attracts only 12 percent of the foot traffic that Casper stores do.
Similarly, fashion brand Everlane is targeting Gen Z through its physical presence as the store saw a 110 percent lift. Ubimo’s analysis found that Everlane shoppers also frequent Nike, H&M, and Adidas at notable rates.
The insights serve as a reminder to brands that neither digital nor brick and mortar practices alone will satisfy Gen Z’s unique shopping preferences. Marketers should utilize location intelligence and analyze the actions of their customers in physical stores to guide their business strategies.