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10-15 years-olds see high street stores as show rooms

10-15 years-olds see high street stores as show rooms
Wednesday November 20 2013

Amaze Generation, a five-year research study looking at the impact of technology on the behaviour and attitudes of 10-15 years-olds, reveals the latest findings into how the age group view the decline of the high street and looks at how digital is changing UK shopping habits

Now in its third year, the study, run by leading marketing and technology consultancy Amaze, shows that digital is an intrinsic part of the shopping experience and that change on the high street is perceived as inevitable. The youngsters express a bleak vision of the future of the high street, with showrooming expected to be its core function.

The study looks at how technology is shaping the lives of digital natives and shows a clear preference for online shopping over purchasing in-store, with almost all of the youngsters and teenagers having bought online. Three-quarters of the group expressed a clear preference for online shopping, perceiving there to be more choice in the digital space. Online shopping was also seen as easier and more convenient, with the main reason for shopping off-line given as the need to see items before purchasing. They also see the potential to sell online through sites like “eBay to buy cheap clothes and make money.”

Conversations with the group explored their attitudes towards the increasing number of store closures, which were seen to be a result of the recession and a shift towards online shopping. The study reveals a clear, rational, unsympathetic view towards recent store closures with participants expressing views showing they have little loyalty towards traditional retailers. Overall, participants felt that “people shop online because it is more convenient” and that “nobody can afford to buy stuff that isn’t absolutely necessary.” They felt that stores have closed “because of tastes and preferences of consumers” and that stores have “had to close down due to massive changes in how people use technology.” One participant sums up the group view: “Even though I rarely actually bought anything from there [HMV] I enjoyed browsing.”

When the group was asked about the future of the high street, the general consensus was that it will be quieter with fewer shops. Change is seen as primarily driven by easier and better online shopping. The overall view was that “there will be very minimal stores as most shopping will be done online due to people being lazy and thinking it’s easier to do it at home. There will be lots of fashion stores around and expensive designers.” Some of the participants had a very downbeat view of the future “I think it will be full of shops like Poundland because the economy gets worse and people won’t be able to afford high quality things.”

A key development revealed in the latest study shows that social shopping is playing an important part in the purchasing process, with friends and family playing a hugely influencing role. The group is clearly at ease with new social media channels and has quickly adopted them to make shopping easier and more fun. Two-thirds of the group has shared a photo of items they were considering buying with friends and almost the entire group has done this while shopping online. Two-thirds have shared a photo whilst shopping in-store. Two-thirds also read online product details and look at reviews.

The group make considered purchases even though they are typically spending small sums of money, with clothes and music shown to be the most popular online purchases and electronics, birthday cards and food also topping the bill. The majority use a PC or laptop to buy online, with a third making purchases via tablets. Mobile, however, is still to emerge as a shopping channel for this age group with only one participant having made a purchase from their phone. Rather than shopping on the go, they prefer to take onboard the thoughts of peers and purchase from home. The majority of the group spend up to £30 a month online but are likely to get permission from parents before purchasing, with three-quarters doing so all the time or depending on what they are buying.

Natalie Gross, CEO at Amaze, comments: “The shopping habits of the Amaze Generation has undergone a revolution, with shopping online clearly gaining in popularity. Whilst the use of mobile for shopping has yet to take hold with this generation, it will be extremely interesting to see how this develops given the overall increasing popularity of the device. This savvy, technologically connected age group are clear about what they want – ease of use, convenience and choice.

“The importance of social shopping and the influence of peers online is also a huge factor that retailers and brands need to take into account to connect with this group of digital natives. It is interesting to see how the group uses technology as an easy way to share and decide what to buy, even when purchasing in-store. The process of shopping is changing forever and the trends we can observe from the group give us a unique insight into the future of online retail.”
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