Tech use 'grossly exaggerated' in Millennials, report says

Publish Date: 
Feb 13, 2012
By Cynthia Furey

If we really want to know how the next generation of shoppers are shopping, it would make sense to just ask them — right? And what researchers have initially discovered is that this demographic's use of technology is a bit over-rated.

Members of the National Retail Federation’s Student Association at New York City’s LIM College  conducted a recent study to find out actually how their peers preferred to shop for apparel and shoes, regardless of what retail industry leaders report.  “We decided to survey our peers to analyze how 18- to 25-year-olds shop, where we shop, how much we spend, our preferences for shopping online and via mobile devices versus in stores, and the role social media plays in our shopping activities,” said Patrick Mays, a member of the LIM College NRFSA team.

The study, Shopping Trends Among 18- to 25-Year-Olds, claims that more than 68 percent of  18- to 25-year-olds  actually prefer to shop in stores than online for apparel and shoes.

"Retail observers have been significantly overestimating our use
of online and digital technology for shopping." 

“Sure enough, retail observers have been significantly overestimating our use of online and digital technology for shopping,” said Nicole Flasch-Mihalko, a member of the LIM College NRFSA team. “We like shopping in stores and are not as engaged in shopping on the Internet as many have touted. I guess the demise of the brick-and-mortar format of retailing — at least for 18- to 25-year-olds — is grossly exaggerated.”

The students say they conducted the study because they believed their own shopping habits differed from current data being publicized.

“We have read and observed what industry leaders had been saying about our use of technology for shopping,” said Alexis Michaelides, student leader of NRFSA. “And it did not match our own habits and preferences.”

Other findings include:

  • Of the 68 percent of 18- to 25-year-olds who prefer brick-and-mortar stores to online shopping, 66 percent of them admit to using the Web for gathering information, like comparing prices.
  • 23 percent report that they use a tablet or smartphone to shop.
  • 56 percent of 18- to 25-year-olds surveyed say they pay for their purchases with debit cards, as opposed to cash or credit cards.

Though those surveyed say they will “Like” a brand on Facebook, more than 88 percent of those surveyed say they don’t want to do their shopping through social media sites like Facebook or Twitter.

The students presented the survey results at the National Retail Federation’s 101st annual convention in January in New York.

This story originally appeared in the February 2012 issue of Dealernews.