Will Generation Z Be the Ones to Save Brick and Mortar Retail?


While Gen Z consumers (all 86 million of them) may not have as much disposable income as Generation X and Y, that’s not to say their buying power is any less. In fact, 91% of teens influence their parents’ purchasing decisions.

As we hurtle towards the holiday season at breakneck speed, PwC estimates a 10% increase in consumer spending. Great news as a whole, but is that enough to lift the declining foot traffic of store-based retailers?

While it’s true teens are extremely heavy mobile and social media users, store-based retailers shouldn’t take that as a disadvantage. Though teens aren’t hanging out at malls nearly as much as they used to, they still love shopping in physical stores, often visiting them with friends and family. Whether it’s through a retail app or driving store traffic via your e-commerce site and social media channels (store-only promotions, anyone?), you can certainly leverage technology to ensure these consumers are visiting your store this holiday season.

Unlike their millennial counterparts, Gen Z consumers value tangible gifts far more than experiences (like travelling and entertainment). This is especially good news for brands and retailers in the personal electronics, clothes, shoes and toys sectors. And, while it is no longer considered the biggest shopping day of the year, Black Friday is still more popular with teens today than with any other demographic.

Truthfully, these are the sort of things brands and retailers need to know if they hope to capture the hearts (and wallets) of what is currently the largest demographic in the U.S. As Forbes reports, plenty of other helpful insights can be gleaned from the Gen Z consumer, such as:

  • They respond better to images than words. Clean up your brand’s Instagram feed and your website’s marketing assets and speak in a language they will understand.
  • 90% of teens say they relate to their favorite influencers on a personal level. So it might be time to instate an influencer or brand ambassador program.
  • They favor socially-conscious brands with specific charitable or community involvement. Is your company doing all it can to give back? If not, the holidays are a great time to start!

In an increasingly digital world, could Generation Z be what carries brick and mortar retail through to the next era of commerce? Trends point to “yes,” so be sure to act now!

Want more Generation Z insights? Hoping to bring in more foot traffic to your store? Read on: