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Young Shopper: Online vs. in-store - how Italians youngsters shop

by Matthias Rasztar , 24.11.2015

Young people in Italy are certainly not going to abandon shopping in-store any time soon, despite their interest in the online world. Two thirds (66%) of youth respondents (aged 16-21) thought they would continue to shop in stores as much or more than they do at present. This is similar to the adult segment (aged 22-65), where 67% said they would continue to shop in-store as much or more than before.

Social shopping is important to young Italians

The young people of Italy are significantly more likely to go shopping socially in the future than their adult counterparts, with 28% saying they will shop socially more than they currently do compared to 18% of the older age group.

Online vs. in-store: how Italians shop

Consumers in Italy prefer to “webroom” – research an item online before going in-store. 64% do this as opposed to 55% who “showroom” – research in-store and then buy online.

Lower prices, greater choice, easier returns/refunds and improved delivery services are all factors that Italians would like to see from retailers in the future. Youths are more likely than adults to only shop at online stores that also have physical shops. They are also more likely to say they almost only buy from online shops with physical stores. Older respondents say they see the benefit of buying from online stores with physical stores, but are happy to buy from online-only retailers (37% vs. 28%).

The different attitudes of youths and adults

Attitudinally, Italians place a high importance on looking good, with adults more likely than youths to pay a premium for fashion/cosmetics products. Both age groups are likely to browse even if they don’t have a product in mind, and around a quarter will buy fashion items on impulse.

Both age groups place a high importance on keeping up-to-date with technology trends, though adults are more concerned with actually owning the latest technology than youths.

Between youth and adult groups enjoyment of shopping is equal, with a similar number seeing shopping as enjoyable/a hobby or conversely seeing shopping as a chore. Adults are more likely to admit to being a “shopaholic”.

Italian youths shop more than other age groups on mobile

Of the devices used to research the purchase, the use of mobile phones is consistently higher amongst youths, and laptop/desktop use is higher amongst adults. When it came to paying, the majority of transactions took place in-store.

Delivery costs, reliability and security concern young people about online

Integrated online and in-store experiences are important in Italy, with around two thirds of 16-21 year olds and more than half of adults expecting it. The main barrier to shopping online in Italy is cost of delivery. Reliability of delivery is a bigger concern for 16-21 year olds than it is for adults, as is the security of credit card and personal details. One third of those aged 22-65 have no reservations about shopping online, compared to 19% of younger people.

The future for shopping in Italy

In Italy, both youths and adults feel that online, home delivery, mobile/app and Click & Collect will increase in importance in the next two years. Youths are very interested in seeing Amazon drones in the future (54%), significantly more so than their adult counterparts (44%). Customization would also be valuable to both groups, as would the option of having products bought in-store delivered to the home. Older respondents are significantly more likely to say that Click & Collect would be valuable (44% vs. 28%).

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:

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