There’s at least one group of shoppers who are enthusiastically hitting the malls this holiday season — and they don’t seem too bothered by the pesky inflation eating away at their discretionary dollars.
They’re Gen Z. And how they buy matters.
This cohort of consumers born between 1997 and 2012 is among the fastest growing groups in the country, along with millennials. Together, this demographic is expected to reach 70% of the population by 2028, up from 60% today. , according to a note from Cowen Equity Research.
“One of the highlights of this Black Friday was the high turnout of Gen Zers in stores,” said Kristen Classi-Zummo, apparel industry analyst for market research firm NPD. . “Young consumers flooded the mall, treating Black Friday as a social event. They came early, they came with friends and they came shopping.
She said the prevalence of young shoppers on Black Friday and during the Thanksgiving holiday shopping weekend surprised her. “It’s something I haven’t seen in previous years,” she said.
Shopping mall operator PREIT, which has 18 malls mostly on the East Coast, confirmed that Gen Z consumers are out in force.
“Over the Black Friday weekend we saw shoppers of all ages, but we certainly saw a strong presence of a young crowd and some of our strongest anecdotal sales reports came from the top brands of the generation. Z and fashion department stores,” said PREIT CEO Joe Coradino.
It could also explain why in-store shopping took precedence over the online option this Black Friday.
The National Retail Federation estimates that more than 123 million people visited physical stores over Black Friday and the bank holiday weekend, up 17% from 2021, while the number of online shoppers increased at a much slower rate of 2% to reach 130.2. million. Overall, the group said a record 196 million Americans shopped during the five-day holiday period from Thanksgiving Day to Cyber Monday, an increase of 10% compared to last year.
“For Gen Z, it wasn’t just about shopping. It was about hanging out and having fun together as a group,” Classi-Zummo said.
When it comes to clothing, a particular weakness of younger consumers, Gen Zers tend to be more price agnostic but are very selective about the brands they buy.
Industry experts credit social media platforms such as TikTok and Instagram with creating the “it” tags of the moment, which include pricey athleisure brand Lululemon – where a pair of leggings can cost $120 or more – the Gen Z favorite expensive fashion brand Aritzia and mid-priced clothing chains such as Garage, Pacsun and Aerie.
“Promotions aren’t the draw for these shoppers,” Classi-Zummo said. “One in three shoppers between the ages of 18 and 24 go to social media first to conduct their shopping research,” she said, citing the results of an annual NPD survey.
“At the same time, this generation is also open to finding inspiration in other channels and that includes browsing in stores. And we saw that on Black Friday,” she said.
While older consumers are more price-sensitive, especially in an inflationary environment, searching for discounts isn’t always a priority for trend-hungry teenagers.
But with prices rising to 40-year highs, Gen Z’s approach to shopping has changed slightly.
“They’ll get the must-haves on their wish list, no matter the price, and maybe hand over the nice-to-have items,” Classi-Zummo said.
Besides clothes, what did GenZers buy over the Black Friday weekend?
“Mostly beauty items and electronics,” said Brian Mandelbaum, CEO of consumer data company Attain. “Their top retailers were Best Buy, Sephora, Ulta, and TJ Maxx.”
“Gen Z and their spending, by and large, is all discretionary,” Mandelbaum said. “They’re not as burdened with bills, so they don’t think about inflation and prices as much.”
Millennials, he said, did most of their spending at discount stores, home decor and department stores, including Amazon, Kohl’s and Target.
#avid #beaver #party #buyers #bothered #inflation #Generation #CNN #Business