The Greater Responsibility Of Retailing

The past few years have seen increasing emphasis by marketers to pinpoint and serve the differences— some striking, some nuanced— that define generations, their consumption habits and their shopping preferences.

Much has been made about the growing influence of younger generations, first Millennials and now Gen Z, in directing product development, marketing and merchandising that address social and personal causes beyond basic, practical needs.

Personal Values

If findings from a recent survey by shopping rewards app developer Shopkick provide a reliable forecast, 2020 might become a future-solidifying year for retailers, especially brick-and-mortar operators, that successfully have implemented and promoted programs that score high on the consumer consciousness meter.

Shopkick in December surveyed more than 16,000 consumers across the country to gain insights into 2020 mall shopping activity. The shopping rewards app looked at purchasing behavior, the use of mobile devices in stores, brand loyalty and more.

Seventy-three percent of consumers across generations plan to shop more frequently in 2020 at retailers that align with their core values, with 64% planning to spend more money at those retailers, according to the Shopkick survey.

The results, broken out by generation, might surprise you. Despite popular sentiment that recent generations are the most likely to vote their conscience when shopping, more Baby Boomers (75%) than members of younger generations plan to shop more frequently at retailers that align with their core values. Next up is Gen X (72%), followed by Millennials (70%) and Gen Z (68%).

It also might surprise many that 64% of Gen Zers, often presumed to be less brand-devoted than their elders, report a sense of brand loyalty, compared to 47% of Boomers.

Physical Interaction

It’s important to look at these results in the context of another primary conclusion of the Shopkick survey: Physical product interaction still weighs heavily in purchasing decisions. A strong majority (82%) of consumers surveyed said seeing, holding or demonstrating products in stores makes them more inclined to purchase those products in the stores. Moreover, Boomers and Gen Zers plan to do most of their 2020 shopping in physical retailers (67% and 61%, respectively), followed by Gen X (59%) and Millennials (57%).

Conscientious Decisions

The Shopkick survey findings reinforce that consumption and shopping grounded in personal values is not solely the domain of younger generations that have led the charge for a more responsible retail marketplace.

Such principled decision-making is becoming universal.

It is a sincere motivator, not something to be marginalized or implemented gratuitously in store strategies.

Retailers, indeed, have a greater responsibility to every generation in this new era of conscientious consumerism.