Most millennials still prefer stores to online shopping but want re-evaluation of staff roles - retail survey

A retail trends survey commissioned by a London-based international brand experience consultancy has revealed that almost three-quarters of millennials still prefer stores to online shopping.

The 2018 Retail Sector Report – entitled "The Convergence Continuum" and set to be published by I-AM – also raises doubts over the role of staff with many millennials wanting them to be more knowledgeable and confined to pay points.

The key findings are:

  • 80% of people went shopping as a day trip in the last month, with 50% of those going in the last week
  • 74% still prefer physical stores compared to just 26% preferring online shopping, with 36% preferring shopping malls
  • 51% would love to navigate, get information and pay using their phone instore
  • 46% think staff hinder the shopping experience, but 48% still value help
  • 70% prefer staff but may be just at the pay point, while 28% would happily shop without staff
  • 71% want store staff to be more knowledgeable
  • 45% would revisit stores that offered workshops and tutorials, while 23% just want to shop
  • 50% browse on their smartphones before going to sleep
  • 77% of people are open to the idea of handing over data in exchange for discounts
  • 56% would like their click and collect point to offer them a space to try on clothes and facilitate their returns and refunds
  • 73% of people prefer home delivery over click and collect
  • 49% say the most loved element of the in-store experience is touching and trying things out
  • 69% of store card holders believe they are valuable and encourage them to shop at the same store

Commenting on the report, I-AM Group Partner, Pete Champion, said: "Both online and offline, people prefer multi-brand stores over mono-brand ones. Retail has undergone a seismic change in the last decade. Though this has been largely driven by technology, our consumer attitudes to what shopping is and does has sifted dramatically and our needs, platforms and spaces have converged. We no longer shop in specific bursts, rather shopping hums along at our pace of life.

"Retail has become a continuous chain-reaction of movements, events, experiences and motives. Shopping has become relative – relative to context, person and place and has moulded into four dimensions of space and time. Shopping is no longer about the what and where, but how and when."

The survey was conducted among 2000 18 to 35 year-olds living in a number of UK cities.

I-AM, headquartered in Shoreditch, and with overseas offices in Istanbul, Dubai and Mumbai, has a portfolio of clients in many sectors including food and drink, banking, fashion, estate, telecom and tech, showrooms, education, transport and destinations – as well as retail.

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