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Retail trends, get ready for Generation Z

Retail trends

Big changes in consumer behaviour

The past two decades have represented a time of significant technological change, where increasingly of our lives are being shaped by the internet and its ever increasing impact on how we communicate, discover and shop. Of course this has meant much for the world of retail, where current trends sharply contrast to the retail trends of the mid 1990’s and as recent research has found, it seems that the expectation of those born into this technological era, are a consumer group to be reckoned with.


Who are Generation Z?

Generation Z are loosely defined as those born during, or after, the 1990s. Also known as digital natives, they have never known life without digital cameras, computers or mobile phones. They are more comfortable talking online than they are face-to-face and social media and digital communication is part of their daily life. They are the youth of today, now be coming of age, beginning university and entering the world of work. And they’re a vitally important group of consumers to consider as the target market of tomorrow who will increasingly boast growing disposable incomes.


What, exactly, is this recent research saying about Generation Z?

Recent research commissioned by delivery service platform Shutl,  has revealed some interesting views from a cross section of UK shoppers regarding their expectations of retailers. Undertaken by Dot Research this survey of 2,000 consumers has identified a few key findings that retailers must consider in relation to Generation Z, most specifically finding that:

  • Generation Z consists of almost twice (60%) as many 18-24 year olds to 45 – 54 year olds (33%) that expect more from retailer delivery performance
  • 86% of Generation Z say that delivery options are a key influencing factor in their choice of who to purchase from when shopping online
  • 90% of Generation Z shop online, and they state that they would shop online more frequently if they were in control of more convenient delivery choices.

“While retailers are providing the flexibility and choice that millennials expect today, such as m-commerce, it’s important to keep an eye on who’s coming around the corner. If the trend for growing expectations among younger consumers continues, they need to be thinking about how best to attract the Generation Z shoppers of tomorrow”.
Tom Allason, CEO, Shutl

What this research means for retailers

In short this research underlines the importance of making changes today for the consumers of tomorrow. Beyond this however, and more specifically, it means that retailers must improve their delivery performance, and that even the best of logistical networks may well need to be improved to meet expectations that may well demand next day delivery as standard.

“A two-day delivery window will seem archaic to people who have grown up downloading entertainment in seconds. Retailers therefore need ensure they have the delivery options and mechanisms in place needed to give this iGeneration the control of purchasing what they want, when they want it. If they don’t, shoppers will simply switch to a competitor that can.”
Tom Allason, CEO, Shutl

Further insight from Dot Research’s survey

Going beyond Generation Z, the survey also holds some insight into other consumer groups, finding that:

  • 77% of respondents of all ages identify a busy lifestyle as the reason behind their move to online shopping
  • Shoppers within rural areas are less demanding of retailers as compared to those within the city, with 34% of urban based respondents expecting a next day delivery, whilst rural respondents were prepared to wait between two and seven days.
  • Over two third (68%) of responses across all age groups were, at some stage, put off shopping online at some stage.


Our View

Consumer behaviour and expectation is changing, driven largely by technological advancements. Todays consumers are well connected and very smart and as a result, their expectations are higher than ever. They spend more time online than any other consumer group and have little time or tolerance for poorly performing websites that don’t work well on mobile devices and little time or tolerance for poor delivery and customer service.

In today’s ever faster paced world of retail, staying ahead of retail trends can be the difference between business growth and increased market share and dwindling sales and business decline.

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