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Consumer Trends
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Consumer View Fall 2017

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Consumers’ choices in terms of where, how and why they buy are redefining retail and creating a new playbook for the industry. NRF’s Consumer View is a quarterly look at what shapes retail.

In this quarter’s Consumer View, NRF examines shoppers’ experiences with technology, what brings Millennials and Gen Z into the store and what differentiates the online and in-store shopper.

Survey highlights

  • 78% of consumers are shopping in stores either about the same or more than they were a year ago. More importantly, younger generations — Millennials and Gen Z — are visiting stores more. Roughly half (49%) of Millennials/Gen Zers we surveyed said they’re shopping in stores more often than they were a year ago.
  • The role of the store in the customer’s path to purchase is evolving. 74% of consumers say they typically come into the store to buy something specific rather than to browse. This impacts the types of services and experiences retailers are offering — from providing more convenient ways to check out to making it easier for shoppers to find what they’re looking for.
  • Right now, the most impactful innovations are those that are transforming, not replacing, the physical retail experience. When asked about their experience with specific retail technologies, customers were most likely to say that buy online, pick up in store, in-app store navigation, and mobile payment actually improved their shopping experience. However, given the rapid pace of technology today, it is also important to understand what consumers are looking for next and what that says about the problems they are looking to solve. 
Online versus In-Store