SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — Online shopping has become a way of life for many, but new data is showing that a big majority of Gen Z are also in-person shopping.
They’re considered the first digitally native generation but even though most of Gen Z don’t know life without the internet, new data shows that they are also in-person shopping.
Researchers with the International Council of Shopping Centers surveyed more than 1,000 16 to 26 year olds across the country.
While they found that 95% of them were shopping online, 97% also shopped in person.
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“We kind of broke it up, 16 to 17, 18 to 22. We had the high school, you have the college, and then the 23 to 26 year olds who are just starting their careers, and they are all going,” said Stephanie Cegielski, with the ICSC, “We didn’t find a lot of difference in, in the numbers of the age groups that were going, it was pretty even across the board, which is very encouraging.”
The study looked into Gen Z as a consumer and found that they’re continuing to play a key role in the revival of brick and mortar stores.
A good majority going to discount retailers, followed by specialty retailers that can be found at shopping malls.
While many malls across the country have seen a decline, the Westfield Valley Fair in San Jose has been a major exception, Gen Z they say has played a part in that success.
“They want to have a day with their friends and it’s just not something you can do online shopping,” said marketing director, Rachel Weisser,
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The South Bay mall recently put $1 billion into expansions they say facilitates in-person shopping and gathering.
“I think Gen Z can identify that and where they want to come and see what all the excitement is about,” Weisser said.
Some local Gen Z’ers say a big part of the draw to shop in-person is convenience.
“I’m currently looking for a graduation dress and I can’t find anything online that I like so I’m going in person tomorrow at the mall,” said Briana Jazmin Bravo.
Others say that after dealing with pandemic isolation, it’s a place to find connectivity.
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“I think it’s also the social aspect of buying it from someone and going with your friends,” said Sophia DiFonzo.
Westfield Valley Fair says they’re actively working to keep drawing in large Gen Z crowds long-term.
“Malls, they need to adapt to consumer trends and desires and we do that,” Weisser said.
Those behind the survey say they hope that other business owners and landlords, take the results of the survey to help develop their business strategy over the coming years.
“This generation has a lot of loyalty,” Cegielski said, “So it’s an opportunity for retailers to really build that brand loyalty to hold on to those consumers for the long term.”
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