Despite being far more tech-savvy than previous generations, Generation Y, the 80-million strong cohort of Americans between the ages of 18 and 35, has not forsaken shopping in stores for online purchasing — as long as retailers keep their offerings “fresh” and interesting, says a new report from the Urban Land Institute (ULI).
The report explores the shopping preferences of Gen Yers, who associate shopping with socializing, and who place a high value on living close to retail (another ULI report released this week found that 62 percent of Gen Yers prefer developments offering a mix of shopping, dining and office space). It notes that while Gen Yers enjoy shopping and dining out, they tend to bore easily, compelling retailers to constantly update their merchandise and find new ways to engage these consumers.
The study found that 37 percent of Gen Yers love shopping and 48 percent enjoy it. Half of the men surveyed and 70 percent of the women consider shopping a form of entertainment and something to share with friends and family. The appeal of shopping is particularly strong among Gen Yers who are Hispanic and African American.
Gen Yers tend to spread their dollars around generously, the study found, with more than half visiting a variety of retail centers at least once a month, including discount department stores (the retail type most frequently visited by Gen Y), community shopping centers, enclosed malls, department stores, big-box power centers, chain apparel stores, and neighborhood business districts. At the same time, 91 percent of respondents said that they had made online purchases over the previous six months, with 45 percent spending more than an hour a day looking at retail-oriented web sites.