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Gen Z Keeps Watchful Eye on Economic Environment: Survey

Despite being digital natives, such consumers embrace in-person shopping.

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PHOTOGRAPHY:  Daniel de la Hoz/iStock.com
PHOTOGRAPHY:  Daniel de la Hoz/iStock.com

Gen Z consumers are keenly aware of the state of the economy as their spending power grows – and balances being cost-conscious with being willing to pay for convenience and quality. Those are the major conclusions of a new study from the ICSC titled “The Rise of the Gen Z Consumer.”

“Gen Z [those aged ages 16 to 26] is an increasingly important demographic as more of them graduate from school, transition to their first full-time job, and mature into more spending power,” said ICSC President and CEO Tom McGee. “Our study found that many of the stereotypes and preconceived notions attached to this cohort are unfounded, however, their habits will influence retail strategy, marketplace makeup and broader economic trends for years to come.”

An overwhelming 78 percent of respondents are concerned about the state of the U.S. economy – a number that increased to 84 percent amongst the older representatives of Gen Z, those ages 23 – 26, compared to 71 percent of 16- and 17-year-olds.

While Gen Z is often viewed as a generation that grew up online, nearly all respondents (97 percent) shop at brick-and-mortar stores, driven by the immediacy with which they can walk away with a product, as well as the ability to see, touch and try products before buying.

“Our survey shows that despite being ‘digital natives,’ Gen Z is an omnichannel generation,” said McGee. “The percentage of respondents who shop online versus in-person are nearly identical, demonstrating that focusing on a particular channel is no longer the priority. Rather, retailers that can successfully offer convenience, quality, and speed and have a diversified presence across in-store and digital, will be well-positioned to capture the loyalty of this demographic.”

The study is based on results from a March survey by ICSC and Big Village of 1008 respondents from Generation Z.

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