Younger shoppers value physical stores more than older ones finds study

Younger ‘digital generation’ shoppers prefer to shop in physical stores rather than online when they are buying clothes, according to a new survey.

Retail experience agency Foolproof surveyed more than 2,000 UK adults about online versus in-store purchasing behaviours. The study found that 58 per cent of 18-24 year olds and 60 per cent of 25-24 year olds would prefer to carry out their fashion shopping in-store rather than online.

Older shoppers are slightly less likely to prefer the in-store option: 51 per cent of 35-44 years olds, 49 per cent of 45-54 year olds and 53 per cent of those aged over 55, prefer to shop in physical stores. And while convenience is the biggest motivation to shop online, assessing quality is the biggest driver to visit a store.

“We asked a series of questions pertaining to online vs in-store purchasing behaviours, expectations and drivers. What we found was surprising and runs against the grain of assumptions about digital being the inevitable future for retailers. The fact is that our generations of the future still see a place for the in-store shopping experience, but retailers need to create an experience that plays to the strengths of in-store shopping whilst fixing the pain points that are driving people away,” says Foolproof co-founder Peter Ballard.

“Retailers have an opportunity, but they need to act now or they will lose out forever. As the digital world continues to mature, we are seeing time and time again that truly beautiful and frictionless experiences are pulling favour. Some of the advantages of the in-store experience over online shopping, such as the tactile nature of browsing and assessing an item’s quality with your own eyes, may eventually be addressed with advances in technology, but for now those aspects of shopping still have to happen physically, in-store, in person.”

Ballard recommends that retailers use stores to emphasise aspects of the shopping experience that cannot be replicated online, maximising opportunities to interact with products and highlighting the social aspect of shopping.