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Bricks and mortar stores still matter to millennials

'Try before you buy' attitudes fuel need for physical stores.

The majority of millennials haven’t completely abandoned the high street and still value physical stores despite their affinity for online shopping, a report by The Market Creative has revealed.

The marketing agency’s study, titled ‘Future of Marketing’, aimed to capture some of the directions, trends and possibilities shaping marketing today and in the future. As well as views from experts in e-commerce, social media and advertising, it delved into the wider context including media landscape and audience.

As millennials come of age, moving into their prime spending years, the report compares online and in-store shopping habits.

It found that 58% of millennials visit a physical store at some point when making a purchase, particularly when shopping for furniture, homewares, DIY and gardening equipment.

And while 42% of millennials mainly shop online, a significant proportion (29%) prefer to mainly shop in-store.

The survey also asked if millennials thought e-commerce would eventually lead to the demise of the high street.

Of the 73% who said physical stores would survive, 52% said it was because of the need to see and try products before buying. One in five said they enjoyed the social aspect of shopping.

Of the 27% who predicted the disappearance of stores on the high street, 52% said this would be down to the ease of shopping online while 38% cited it was because buying online tends to be cheaper.

This supports the price sensitive nature of the millennial generation. The survey found that 61% of millennials believe that they should never have to pay full price.

Sue Benson, MD at The Market Creative, said: “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.

“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.”

The study consisted of an online survey of 1,058 home and leisure shoppers in 2016. Shopping habits were surveyed across three generations: Millennials (18-29), generation X (30-49) and boomers (50-70).

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