A recent survey by Wunderman Thompson into the likes and dislikes of Gen Z in Asia Pacific has some interesting insights into the next generation of influencers. The survey was conducted among 4,500 consumers aged between 13 and 23, in China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
Three quarters of those surveyed believe they will be better off than their parents’ generation, which is perhaps contrary to the views of the generation before them. Three quarters of respondents admit to using their smartphones daily (you would be forgiven for thinking it would be more) but, amusingly, 87% believe that their peers spend too much time on their devices.
The shopping habits of Gen Z are, perhaps, the most interesting. While 76% of them are as comfortable shopping online as they are in a shop, the majority still prefer to buy goods in a physical store.
This is obviously good news for the retail industry and also matches the survey we reported on a few weeks ago. In that survey, 58% of Millennials prefer to shop with online retailers that also have a physical shop.
The abiding irritation with shoppers is the returns process and this seems to be the case across all shoppers. Nowadays, retailers need to make it easy and convenient to return goods. The problem is that the majority of retail executives acknowledge this but have not got the budget to implement slick processes for the foreseeable future.
Another reason for shoppers leaving a store without buying anything is the price is not the same as advertised online or an item is out of stock. This must be an argument for advertising telephone numbers or contact mechanisms for individual shops.
Whatever the generation it certainly seems as if the retail industry needs to up its game. For a while there were debates about online and offline pricing and for a while it is seemed acceptable to justify differences between the two. This no longer the case.
A real challenge for retailers is judging the level of stock. In an age where stock lying on shelves for months is not a business option, getting the balance right is crucial (and will lose business if got wrong).
The returns process has to encourage customers to try goods in their own home, safe in the knowledge that they will not have to find an envelope themselves, or the postage and that with two or three movements, the process is complete and the payment is reversed (and not in seven working days – immediately).
Retail has come a long way but it seems from these surveys that there will be no let up. The supply chain processes and technologies have to be first class and the divide between digital and physical has to be invisible.