• Anne Heaney, Director

Gen Z's need for speed and how to keep up.

If retail was a target-based dart game, then hitting Gen Z would be the bullseye. Not because they have the most spending power or the most stable jobs, but for a variety of factors that make them, if nothing else, a good investment.

Combined with millennials, the two youngest groups are poised to make up roughly 70% of the global population by 2028, according to recent reports. That's 70% of consumers who are digitally fluent, value price when making purchase decisions and are hungry for newness.

"Today's modern consumer is savvy," Jeff Fromm, co-author of "Marketing to Gen Z," said. "They carry a weapon with them and it's not a phone — it's a modern-day Swiss army knife."

The Swiss army knife that has widely become known as the smartphone ensures not only that Gen Z and millennials are more informed than their predecessors, but also that they're partial to sites like Amazon, which give them all the information they need about a product in a short and simple manner.

In particular, user reviews have a serious impact on purchase decisions for millennial and Gen Z consumers. Outside of a need or a want, user reviews ranked the highest among 18-24 year-olds for which factors influence their buying habits — and the same trend followed for 25-34 year-olds.

Perhaps even more concerning for retailers, they increasingly value price, with over half (58%) of millennials ranking it as the most important quality when shopping for apparel, accessories or footwear. With value-driven shoppers abounding, the benefactors of this looks to be largely off-price and deep value retailers, including Burlington Stores, TJX Co., Ross Stores, Walmart and Costco.

In addition, those retailers that create and release new fashion lines quickly will likely play well with the younger generations. They are looking for high quality products that they can get quickly - it's that immediacy that they're looking for.

At Buying Intelligence, we are seeing an increase in the frequency of new product arrivals and average price points slightly decreasing in fast fashion hero categories. Getting the range structure right for this customer is critical as chances are if young shoppers don't like what they see, they won't wait around for a retailer to get it right.

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