86% of millennials browse in retail stores but buy online, why?

Photo by Drobot Dean

Zebra Technologies Corporation has revealed the results of its 2020 APAC Shopper Study, the industry’s only market tracker that analyses the attitudinal behaviour of shoppers, retail associates and retail executives, and examines the retail and technology trends impacting shoppers’ purchasing behaviour.

86% percent of surveyed millennial shoppers and more than half (56%) of Gen X shoppers indicated they shopped in a store and left without a purchase only to end up buying the item online, compared to only 25% of Boomers. Shoppers indicate out-of-stock items as the top reason for leaving without a purchase.

Shopping often starts before customers enter a store. Customers expect that items they saw online are in-stock – achieving what’s hardest for e-commerce to deliver – instant gratification. When it comes to brick-and-mortar purchasing, price is a top priority for shoppers. Almost three in ten (29%) of shoppers surveyed report leaving a store because the price did not match the one found online.

On the flip side, e-commerce has created a new retail reality where consumers expect unlimited returns. The returns experience continues to remain a source of shopper discontent and represents a perception gap between retailers and shoppers. Retail executives believe that 80% of shoppers are satisfied with returns, but only 57% are.

It is no surprise that 81% of retail executives agree managing returns of online orders is a significant challenge. About 51% of retail executives have started or are planning to upgrade their returns management technologies in the next five years. Stores are doubling as distribution centres, fulfilling online orders to streamline processes and move services closer to end-customers.

Retailers are working hard to implement the advancements shoppers have come to expect from the online shopping experience. A majority (63%) of shoppers believe that associates using handheld computers with built-in scanners can improve the shopping experience. Nearly half of associates report in store mobile devices help them provide a better shopping experience by enabling them to: find correct prices (48%), answer questions (46%) and save customers’ time (42%).

The future of retail belongs to the digital natives who expect technology-enabled experiences. The likelihood of shoppers using in store technology services:

  • 63% of shoppers are likely to use video touchscreen to locate items, check prices, receive promotions and scan barcodes
  • 59% of shoppers are likely to use location-based coupons sent based on a shopper’s in store location
  • 58% of shoppers are likely to use auto checkout services where they can leave a store without stopping to pay for items

To elevate the shopper experience and keep customers coming back, retailers need to deliver on the most basic need – convenience – by prioritizing expanded fulfilment capabilities such as third-party logistics (3PL), while also taking care to build innovation into the core of their business.



  • Nearly 58% of shoppers prefer to shop with online retailers that also have brick and mortar locations.
  • 40% of shoppers prefer to make purchases via mobile devices and smartphones.

Europe and the Middle East

  • Two-thirds (66%) of shoppers reported satisfaction with their ability to pay anywhere in the store.
  • Only 14% of shoppers completely trust retailers to protect their personal data.

Latin America

  • Seventy-one percent of shoppers said self-checkout provides them with a better shopping experience and 64% prefer using the technology to a staffed checkout lane.
  • More than eight-in-ten (83%) shoppers are interested in receiving a coupon or cash-back offer in exchange for waiting up to four days for delivery of an online purchase.

North America

  • Only 6% of shoppers said they completely trust retailers to protect their personal data, the lowest score of any region.
  • North American holiday shoppers expect to spend 58% of their holiday budget in physical stores.

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