Shopping generation: do millennials still prefer brick-and-mortar?

Everything is changing, and it’s no surprise that the shopping behavior is no exception. For millennials — the generation which was born with mobile phones glued to their hands — the seamless streamline of a shopping process is a must. It may seem that for millennials and even younger generation online shopping is the preferred method of acquiring goods. But it’s not the only one as they still shop in physical stores. What do they expect from shopping in-store?

According to this study (, young people emphasize a few factors which affect their shopping behavior.

They appreciate friends and family recommendations, they value in-store experience, and they are affected by their mood. Millennials want to feel emotionally connected to the purchase experience and, often, the brand itself.

The trick is to be fast: the retailers should at least attempt to match the convenience of online shopping.

Young people of today grow up pressed for time with overloads of activities. That habit carries on into adulthood. Since they are conditioned to use different mobile applications and online services, the best smart device app experience is paramount. That means that for your business having a quality online service is a must. If shoppers are not satisfied with the quick and easy process of online shopping they leave.

On the flip side, they still appreciate visiting brick-and-mortar retailers, where they can touch the products and try them (on). According to the Accenture study, millennials steadily stick to shopping at brick-and-mortar stores. “68 percent of all Millennials demand an integrated, seamless experience regardless of the channel. That means being able to transition effortlessly from smartphone to personal computer to physical store in their quest for the best products and services.”

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Nicole (22) explains: For me, shopping in-store is a kind of entertainment. Therefore I expect some events or promo actions. It is always better to talk to real people. I also want to know how the clothes I’m going to buy look and feel on me. Once I´ve seen it personally, I often buy it from the online store.” Well, that means that young people expect to be connected with a brand whether they are physically in-store or shopping online.

What is the difference?

Even though older people shop in physical stores more often than younger people, the retailers should not cater to that group predominantly. They should also create opportunities for giving youngsters the quality experience. The fact is that these generation groups just have different needs and different expectations from shopping in-store.

Nearly half (47%) say they buy online and pick up in-store more than 40% of the time, compared to 30% of Gen Xers and just 14% of their Baby Boomer parents, Euclid also found. They are supremely channel-agnostic, effortlessly switching between buying online (52%) and in physical stores (59%) weekly, with nearly a third holding retail subscription services.

For the millennials shopping in-store is, indeed, a form of entertainment. They are obsessed with digital technologies and jump on the opportunity to connect the digital world with the real world. A bit more than half (51%) find in-store visits more exciting when a retailer uses tech to show how a product is relevant to their needs, compared to 38% of Generation X and 23% of Boomers. And millennials remain thrifty — a third say price influences them.


A Face2-face contacts with real human beings are also quite important to millennials shoppers. They are more than twice as likely than Boomers and Gen X to say that interacting with knowledgeable sales staff influences their purchasing decisions.

And this is good news. If the kids that grew up with a blue glow of the screen illuminating their face want to connect with real human beings in person not all is lost. We, after all, are hard wired for human connection.

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