The young people of China are certainly not going to abandon shopping in stores, despite their interest in the online world. In our survey, 62% of young respondents (aged 16-21) thought they would continue to shop in stores as much or more than they currently do. This is significantly higher than the older age group (aged 22-65) (50%). In fact, 24% of youths stated that they will use physical stores more in future, compared to just 13% of older respondents.
China enjoys social shopping
According to the research, young people and adults alike state they are more likely to go shopping socially in the future – 92% of youths and 94% of adults. Social shopping is of particular importance to the adult segment. More than half (56%) of the 22-65 age group stated that they are likely to go shopping socially more than they do now, compared with 50% of youths.
Webrooming wins over showrooming
Youths prefer to “webroom” – research an item online before going in-store. 52% do this as opposed to 45% who “showroom” – research in-store and then buying online. Adults score higher on both types of behavior and also prefer to webroom – 61% do this as opposed to 46% who showroom.
What Chinese consumers want from retailers
An improved in-store experience tops the wish list for Chinese shoppers, followed by lower prices and increased choice. A better experience matters more to youths – 50% compared to 42% of older shoppers. Older shoppers are much more concerned than youths about easier refunds/returns and improved service. 52% of 22-65 year-olds would like more payment options, whereas just 34% of 16-21 year-olds were interested in mobile payments and contactless cards.
The devices used to shop online
Of devices used to research a purchase, online use is similar between youths and adults. Mobile and personal electronics are the categories most likely to be researched exclusively online.Grocery is the category most likely to be researched exclusively in-store.Fashion is the most omnichannel category, with respondents shopping both online and in shops. The majority of online payments are made using a desktop, with 7-14% made using a mobile and a few (typically less than 4%) transactions made using tablets.
Young Chinese shoppers want online and in-store integration
The main barrier to shopping online in China is the desire to see the product being purchased. This is particularly important for the adult segment of respondents (44% vs. 55%).
Youths have much higher expectations concerning the integration of online and in-store services compared to adults – particularly with regard to the expectation that retailers will support in-store items bought online (86% vs. 77%).
The future: what matters to consumers most
Both youths and adults in China think that online, home delivery and mobile and app will play a more important role in the future than today. 62% of older respondents said they thought that mobile and app was significant, compared to 50% of youths.
The Chinese ranked having products that they buy in-store delivered to their homes as the service that would be highest in value to them in the future, closely followed by Click & Collect and mobile payment options. Adults were much more likely to be interested in customizable products (57% vs. 45%).
About the Global Youth Retail study
Global Youth Retail study is a GfK proprietary study carried out in 10 countries (US, UK, Germany, Italy, South Korea, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa). The total sample of 7,266 people includes a boosted sample of c. 5,000 16–21 year olds. The study explores attitudes and behaviors across grocery, personal care, fashion, mobile and personal electronics.
Global Youth Retail is a key component of GfK Future of Retail – market insights we provide based on best intelligence about the demand and expectations of today’s shoppers across all categories and markets. Bringing together sales facts, panel data and shopper research, we help generate the precise and future focused retail strategy you need for sustainable business success.