New Study Suggests Use of Technology for Shopping Among Millennials is Overrated

The use of technology for shopping by 18–25 year olds is significantly overrated. In fact, more than 68% of the 18–25 year olds surveyed "prefer to shop in stores than online for apparel and shoes," according to the results of a new survey, "Shopping Trends Among 18–25 Year-​Olds," by a group of LIM College students and in conjunction with the NRF Student Association (NRFSA). LIM College is located in midtown Manhattan and focused exclusively on the study of business and fashion. 

In announcing the release of "Shopping Trends Among 18–25 Year-​Olds," Alexis Michaelides, student leader of the LIM College's campus NRF Student Association (NRFSA), said, "We have read and observed what industry leaders had been saying about our use of technology for shopping and it did not match our own habits and preferences."

"As part of our activities as an NRFSA we decided to survey our peers to analyze how 18–25 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, another member of the LIM College NRFSA team.

"And sure enough retail observers have been significantly overestimating our use of online and digital technology for shopping. 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 18–25 year-​olds– is grossly exaggerated," Nicole Flasch-​Mihalko, another member of the LIM College NRFSA team concluded.

For example, key findings indicate:

  • 68 % of 18–25 year-​olds would much rather shop in stores than online for apparel and shoes, suggesting that they like to touch, feel and try on a product before buying.
  • And while 68% prefer to shop in stores, they are using the Web for gathering information — with 66% using the Web to browse and compare prices.
  • Only 23% shop from a tablet or a smart phone.
  • The 18–25 year old is not as impulsive as commonly believed.
  • The survey found that 66% like to think about their purchase before buying.
  • 56% of 18–25 year olds pay for most of their purchases via debit cards vs. cash or credit cards.
  • Even as the earliest adopters, only 20% shop from flash sale sites such as Rue La La, Gilt Groupe, etc.  In fact, the majority do not know of them.
  • With regards to social media, this consumer will "like" a brand on Facebook, but more than 88% do not yet want to shop thru Facebook/​Twitter.
[Source:  "Shopping Trends Among 18–25 Year-​Olds," LIM College students in conjunction with the NRF Student Association (NRFSA).  17 Jan. 2012.  Web.  17 Jan. 2012.]