What millennials mean for the future of high street retail

13th March 2017

Millennials – consumers born between 1980 and 2000 – still value physical stores despite growing up in an online world, according to a new report from The Market Creative.

The Future of Marketing compares online and in-store shopping habits as this key consumer group enters its prime spending years, following consultations with more than 1,000 UK consumers.

It finds that 58 per cent of millennials visit a physical store at some point when making a purchase, particularly for items such as furniture, homewares and DIY or gardening equipment. Travel, entertainment and sports and fitness products are most likely to be bought online.

And while 42 per cent of millennials say they shop mainly online, nearly a third (29 per cent) prefer to go to a shop. Nearly a fifth typically research online before buying in-store, with 5 per cent researching in-store and then buying online; 6 per cent mostly shop online before collecting in-store.

A large majority of the this consumer group (73 per cent) think physical stores will survive the growth in online retail, with more than half of these citing the need to see and try products and one in five enjoying the social aspect of shopping.

But a sizeable 27 per cent of millennials predict the disappearance of stores on the high street, because of the ease and cheapness of buying online – 61 per cent of millennials believe they should never have to pay full price for items. This group is heavily driven by price, social validation and the shopping experience, finds the research.

“As millennials mature and move into their prime spending years, they are becoming the most important group for many retailers and brands. It’s important that we grasp the behavioural and attitudinal differences compared to previous generations, so we can shape and deliver shopping experiences that meet them on their terms,” says The Market Creative managing director Sue Benson.

 “Despite being digital natives, the high street is still important to them, but to survive retailers must acknowledge the importance of cost and convenience. Giving people a reason to hit the high street, making it an enjoyable and easy experience and offering a price matching service are must-haves,” adds Benson.