Businesses may be surprised to learn where their future growth will come from, as generations embrace opposing methods of shopping.
Research into consumer behaviour broken down by demographics found that online shopping is likely to grow fastest in the year ahead among pre-Boomers (those aged over 70 years), with a surge of 18 per cent in this demographic.
And while Baby Boomers are expecting to increase their online spending by 10 per cent, online spending growth is forecast to be a much more modest 5 per cent among Generation Y.
The Commonwealth Bank (CBA) research also found that, contrary to popular opinion, online shopping does not necessarily get more popular as the generations get younger: 54 per cent of Gen Z prefer to shop in-store, ahead of their counterparts in the two preceding generations.
This is despite separate research suggesting that face-to-face contact is the least desired form of interaction with a business among millennials.
“While online sales are tipped to grow, most shoppers still prefer to buy in-store. Contrary to popular belief, Gen Z is indicating a strong preference for shopping in-store, more so than the two generations that immediately precede them,” said Jerry Macey, CBA’s national manager of retail.
“Shoppers still want to touch and feel items before they buy, look for better prices online or just aren’t ready to purchase on the spot. Shrewd multi-channel retailers are capitalising on this trend by ensuring a seamless experience for customers shopping both in-store and online.”
Mr Macey added that businesses could be losing sales by trying to differentiate prices between their online and in-store channels.
“For multi-channel retailers, it’s clear that price matching across channels is imperative to drive greater in-store sales,” he said.
“We are also seeing strong demand for technology to assist shoppers make in-store purchasing decisions, particularly to support self-directed shopping among the younger generations.”
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.