OpinionLab has released a new study that provides a snapshot of Millennials as they shop in malls and stores across the country. The study analyzes Millennials alongside other generations to find that the mall is far from dead for this generation. Unlike any other age group, Millennials choose the mall over online as their favorite place to shop, and plan to spend significant time there this summer.
The study also finds that, whether in the mall or downtown, Millennials stand out as highly social shoppers who value good deals and special experiences. OpinionLab research also shows that shoppers prefer omnichannel retailers (who operate both stores and sites) to online-only retailers when it comes to customer experience (average score of 463 vs 361) — and that this positive sentiment has increased 12 percent since the holiday season.
Key findings include:
Millennials are the only generation to prefer the mall to online: Over one-third of Millennials (37 percent) picked the mall as their favorite place to shop, followed by online (27 percent). Older generations much preferred online to the mall (32 percent vs. 23 percent), with local boutiques coming in last for all generations.
Millennials plan to spend significant time in the mall this summer: 85 percent of Millennials plan to head to the mall at least once this summer — and 60 percent say they will go at least once a month. The main draw? Nearly half (48 percent) of Millennials rank browsing different stores as their No. 1 reason to go to the mall, followed by getting what they need (35 percent), hanging out with friends (9 percent) and seeing a movie (7 percent). In contrast, older generations are more likely to avoid the mall and prefer to get what they need and go.
Millennials are optimistic about the future of the mall: Only 1 in 10 Millennials states that nothing would motivate them to spend more time in the mall — versus 1 out of 4 older shoppers. The top three advances that would keep Millennials at the mall: adding unique shops and items (65 percent), more stores (52 percent) and better quality/specialty food (49 percent).
Millennials are social shoppers — with digital connections at hand: Once inside a store, Millennials are far more likely than other generations to turn to friends for product advice. This includes asking a friend in the store (53 percent vs 25 percent for non-Millennials), calling or texting (28 percent vs 11 percent), using a mobile chat app like SnapChat or Whats app (9 percent vs 2 percent) or consulting Facebook or Twitter (5 percent vs 2 percent).
Millennials desire both the unique and the practical: Only 10 percent of Millennials think that today’s store is the store of the future, and they’re much more likely to pick out Etsy (35 percent) or a café (16 percent) as an ideal than other generations. But they also prioritize value and function. The generation’s most desired store innovations include personalized deals and promotions (63 percent), free wi-fi (48 percent) and in-store pick up/self check out (40 percent) — not Instagram photobooths (24 percent) and social media lounges (13 percent).
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