Youth Favor Brick and Mortars

The days of typewriters, encyclopedias and good old fashioned letter writing have been replaced by PCs and laptops, search engines and email, making digital a way of life. And while today’s college bound students and recent graduates swear by the Internet as a resource for research, gaming and socializing, one thing is for certain: it is not their preferred source for shopping. According to a recent survey of 310 respondents, primarily female consumers between 18 and 25, more than 68 percent indicated that they prefer to shop in stores rather than online for key items like apparel and shoes.

The survey, conducted by a group of LIM College students in conjunction with the National Retail Federation Student Association (NRFSA), verified that online research was prominent among this age group. The study noted that 66 percent of the consumers surveyed used the web to browse and compare prices, but 66 percent also said they liked to think about their purchase before finally buying in a brick and mortar store. “Retail observers have been significantly overestimating our use of online and digital technology for shopping,” says Nicole Flasch-Mihalko, a member of the LIM College NRFSA team. “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 to 25 year olds, is grossly exaggerated.” In fact, the study revealed that only 20 percent of those surveyed shop via flash sale sites such as Rue La La and Gilt Groupe, with a majority of respondents unaware of what these sites are.

Another interesting find revealed by the LIM College NRFSA team involves a second look at social network use and what it means for the retail industry. While most college students are busy updating their status online, and many 18 to 25 year olds say they would “like” a brand on Facebook, it was discovered that more than 88 percent of the survey respondents say they do not yet want to shop through Facebook or Twitter.

This piece has been adapted from an original piece by BizReport.