We’ve heard all about Generation X and Generation Y, and those who have studied any form of consumer behaviour will know that each one has key characteristics that must be understood in order to know how to target them.
But now a new generation is being introduced: Generation Z. Generation Z is made up of consumers who are 14-19 years old and are extremely interactive, constantly connected and always seeking an experience to share. Retailers in particular are now adapting their shopping experiences to meet these needs and are beginning to recognise that whilst Generation Z consumers may not have a lot of money to spend, they have lots of time. Wifi centres and iPads are being used in flagship stores such as H&M, Harvey Nichols, John Lewis and Oasis as retailers are recognising that Generation Z consumers are not just interested in browsing in-store, but also browsing online whilst being in-store.
An opportunity has been presented for retailing brands to build strong, interactive and relatable messages as part of their offering in order to appear interesting and memorable for Generation Z consumers. The Topshop flagship store in Oxford Circus has taken their offering one step further: not only can shoppers browse for hours over three floors of products, but they can also visit the cafe, have their nails done and visit the salon whilst they’re in the store. This means that once consumers enter the store, they have many reasons to stay for the best part of a full day.
What does this mean for the future of retail? The sharing characteristic of Generation Z means that the combined in-store and online offering has become increasingly important, but despite this, retailers must ensure that they don’t forget about Generation X and Generation Y consumers who may not adapt to the new uses of technology and the new way of shopping as easily as Generation Z.