62 Percent of U.K. Generation Z Shoppers Choose In Store Retail Experiences

This press release was issued by Profitect Inc. prior to its acquisition by Zebra Technologies on June 3, 2019.

BURLINGTON, MA– February 26, 2019Profitect Inc., the leading prescriptive analytics provider for the retail and CPG industry, today announced the results of a survey in partnership with Retail Week of more than 1,000 Generation Z (Gen Z) consumers aged 18-22. The survey explored the shopping and retail workplace behaviours of this generation. Notably, the exclusive survey found that 62 percent of Gen Z shoppers choose in-store retail experiences over online. The data indicates that retailers should continue to invest in their stores and ensure a consistent omnichannel experience.

This year, Gen Z will comprise 32 percent of the global population, surpassing millennials (31.5 percent) for the first time, according to Bloomberg data. Furthermore, Gen Z is now entering into their first jobs and the market as consumers with purchasing power, which makes it important for retailers to understand them both as customers and employees.

“Gen Z is sending a clear picture of how they will shape the global retail industry,” said Guy Yehiav, CEO, Profitect. “The data in this report demonstrates what we see when we meet retail executives. As shoppers, Gen Z demands a better experience in stores and a seamless omnichannel experience. As employees, they demand smart task-management solutions that enable independent thinking on the job. We were proud to partner with Retail Week to gain a better understanding of the UK’s Gen Z population.”

Gen Z as Shoppers

What makes them tick?

This research shows that Gen Zers are price-conscious consumers. Whether shopping online or in-store, price was found to be the greatest factor influencing the decision to purchase an item (56 percent online and 48 percent in store). Discounts and sales also play a key role in influencing Gen Z shoppers to make a purchase (30 percent of respondents). When deciding where to make a specific purchase, 59 percent of Gen Zers cite good promotions and discounts as a key reason for choosing one retailer over another.

“These responses prove Gen Z are smart shoppers,” said Yehiav. “They are well-researched and only make big purchases if they’re confident in getting the best price (and sometimes service) possible. This might require visiting a different location, a different retailer, or searching the internet for the best price. Retailers who do not entice these smart shoppers with targeted promotions will miss out.”

While growing up in a mobile era creates the perception that Gen Z favours technology-based interactions, they are more likely to shop in stores. Only 38 percent of respondents indicated they favored online shopping exclusively.

In another testament to Gen Z’s relationship with the store, nearly half of survey respondents (48 percent) stated that if they needed to return a product they bought online, they would prefer to do so in-store. The survey found that 59 percent of Gen Zers indicated that when they return something, they often exchange it for something else. “Retailers that leverage consumer data can profit on their returns by offering the right promotions when Gen Z shoppers go back to stores. The return conversion is delivered by training personnel in-store,” added Yehiav.

“There has been a negative impression that brick-and-mortar stores are less popular,” said Yehiav. “The results from our UK and US survey show that couldn’t be further from the truth. Gen Z shoppers are still going to stores to see products in person before they purchase. The difference is that they expect stores to be ‘smarter’ and more personalised. Retailers that prioritise quality in-store service and the right products on store shelves – both of which can be optimised by prescriptive analytics – will win with Gen Z.”

What puts them off?

Retailers must ensure quality service if they want to attract Gen Z shoppers. Almost half of respondents (48 percent) said that poor customer service would cause them to stop shopping at their favourite store. Women in particular take bad service to heart, with 59 percent saying they would abandon a brand after a poor experience, compared with 36 percent of men.

As an extension of their demand for a quality omni-channel experience, Gen Z shoppers are intolerant of out of stocks. The most commonly cited reason for avoiding a retailer is if items are repeatedly out of stock (48 percent). Further, 67 percent say that if they checked the availability of a product online, then visited a store to find it out of stock, they would be annoyed. Additionally, 15 percent stated this would cause them to never shop at that retailer again.

“Gen Z shoppers take in stock availability or poor service seriously, and retailers that don’t comply will find these shoppers take their loyalty elsewhere,” said Yehiav. “Retailers should take precautions to prevent these errors with technology that identifies which employees need further training, or closely monitor in-stock availability. Prescriptive analytics solutions can do this easily so that retailers don’t lose valuable customers to avoidable mistakes.”

Gen Z as Employees

Research shows that Gen Zers are already ingrained into the retail workforce and have well-defined preferences on how they like to work. More than half of Gen Z respondents (56 percent) have retail experience and another 30 percent say they would consider the industry in the future.

Of the Gen Zers who currently work in retail, 44 percent receive their work tasks via meetings with their manager but only 20 percent favour this way of working. Additionally 58 percent of respondents claimed the reports they work with are too complicated to understand, with a further 25 percent feeling unclear on how to act on them.

Instead, more than half (53 percent) prefer to receive a written description of their work tasks, with an even split when it comes via physical or digital format. Thirty-nine percent of respondents say that a company app would make working in retail easier or more fun.

“The research shows that the best way to harness the creativity and productivity of Gen Z employees is to play to their nature as digital natives,” said Yehiav. “Retailers who invest in technology that streamlines work tasks, whether through workplace applications or smart task management solutions, will find their Gen Z employees happier and more engaged. With prescriptive analytics, retailers can push simple, easy-to-understand instructions or assignments to employees, optimising labour costs, improving retention, and achieving operational efficiencies.”


Retail Week, in association with Profitect, surveyed 1,000 consumers aged 18 to 22 in late 2018.

About Profitect:

Profitect’s prescriptive analytics solution leverages pattern detection and machine learning to identify opportunities that impact sales and margin. Profitect takes retail and CPG company data and identifies areas for improvement including: inventory accuracy, out of stocks, pricing accuracy, unsellable merchandise, and assortment discrepancies. Profitect customers typically realize a 2-5 percent increase in sales, better consumer experience, 10-15 percent basis point margin improvement, and labor productivity improvement within 6 months.

To learn more about Profitect visit: www.profitect.com


Media Contact:

Bill Abelson
Zebra Technologies

Industry Analyst Contact:

Kasia Fahmy
Zebra Technologies