Publish-pandemic playbook: What Gen Z need from bodily retail

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This is part of a new series that exposes the post-pandemic shift from consumer behavior to the luxury retail footprint.

Despite being the most digitally savvy generation, Gen Z really loves to shop in physical stores. Their motive is different from that of older consumers, however, and those spells are changing for brands.

While Gen Z can research online, they consider visiting stores a social outing. Eighty-one percent of Gen Z prefer to shop in stores, and more than half do so because they can get away from social media and the digital world for a while, according to a survey by Kearney.

That desire means retailers need to offer a richer shopping experience that focuses on creating the community feel while offering a selection of products that appeal to Gen Z tastes. The isolation created by the pandemic lockdown only reinforces the need to lure these shoppers in with a fresh approach, the research says.

“There will be this massive influx of sensory engagement in retail,” says Ciara Larkin of Crowd DNA, the cultural insight and strategy consultancy specializing in youth culture. “People crave tactile and immersive experiences to fight back against the excessive screen fatigue they experienced during the pandemic.”

According to a survey by IBM, 98 percent of Gen Z customers worldwide said they typically shop in a store some or most of the time. Three times as many Gen Zs reported shopping in a store most of the time, compared to the number who reported shopping online most of the time.

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