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Young Shopper: What retailers need to know about Germany’s young shoppers!

by Matthias Rasztar , 17.09.2015

According to our survey, Germany’s shopkeepers can be confident that youngsters will still be coming into their stores in the years to come. Three quarters (74%) of respondents aged 16-21 think that they will continue to shop in store at least as much as they do already. Their appetite for shopping in-store isn’t quite as high as that of older shoppers (81%), but with the vast majority expecting to remain faithful to bricks and mortar establishments, the future looks secure.

Young shoppers want stores

Although youngsters have long been viewed as the “internet generation”, our survey shows that they place far more importance on a bricks and mortar presence than older shoppers. Shoppers aged 16-21 are more than twice as likely to only buy from online shops that have a physical presence – 22% compared to just 10% of 22-65 year olds. And while a pragmatic 39% of 22-65 year olds say they don’t care whether a retailer has a physical presence or not, just 27% of 16-22 year olds agree.

Showrooming less appealing to younger shoppers

Looking further into the data shows youngsters are turning away from showrooming, preferring to make purchases in person rather than online. While 65% of shoppers aged 22-65 have researched items in-store before going online to make a purchase, the figure amongst the young is much smaller at less than half (44%). In contrast, youngsters prefer to “webroom” – browse online before purchasing in-store. Although webrooming is more prevalent amongst older shoppers (76% of those aged 22-65 compared to two thirds of youngsters), viewed in conjunction with figures for showrooming, it is clear that young Germans are continuing to see the appeal of bricks and mortar retailers as a place to make purchases.

Youngsters love shopping on the small screen

Shoppers of all ages are using a wide variety of devices to research purchases online and use of tablets and desktops does not vary significantly by age group. Younger shoppers however are significantly more likely to research their purchases using a mobile phone.

Delivery costs are a big turn off

When Germans do shop online, they don’t expect to be charged for the privilege of having their goods delivered. The main barrier to shopping online in Germany is cost of delivery followed by concerns about credit card security and the security of personal details. Just over half of those surveyed said that they were deterred from buying online by delivery charges. With responses broadly the same amongst both young and adult shoppers, it is clear that neither of these challenges are going away. Young and older consumers have shared expectations and concerns that online retailers need to resolve swiftly if enthusiasm for online shopping is not to be dampened.

An integrated offer is a hygiene factor for younger shoppers

Younger shoppers expect retailers’ online and offline propositions to be highly integrated. More than half (56%) of young shoppers expect retailers to provide support in-store even when they have bought online – 11 percentage points higher than those aged 22-65. However, older shoppers are more likely to see omnichannel shopping as a “bonus” and a reason for selecting a particular store – 36% compared to 26% of younger shoppers would choose a store because it integrated its online and in-store offering.

16-21 year olds predict the future of shopping

Looking to the future, Germans of all ages think that online and home delivery will become more important within the next two years. The young in particular anticipate an increased role for mobiles and apps in researching and buying products – 31% expect their role to become more important compared to 23% of those aged 22-65. While the next generation of shoppers may be keen to embrace new technologies, when asked to choose which services would benefit them most, young shoppers were most likely to choose improved in-store services to help them find the products they were looking for (35%). This was closely followed by Amazon drones at 34% and customizable products at 32%. Amongst older shoppers, the ability to purchase in-store and have goods delivered to their home was the most popular service at 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.

For more information contact Matthias Rasztar at matthias.rasztar@gfk.com.

For more information on our Young Shopper Study, check out our other posts:

China - BrazilRussiaSouth Africa - South Korea - India