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Teens Look to Brick-and-Mortar Retailers

US retailers are prioritizing in-store customer experience over digital channels

August 16, 2016 | Retail & Ecommerce | Demographics

For most product categories, US teens prefer to make their purchases the old-fashioned way, according to July 2016 research—in brick-and-mortar stores. Only games, which tend themselves to be entirely digital products, were preferred to be purchased online.

Product Categories that US Teen Internet Users Prefer to Purchase Digitally vs. In-Store, May 2016 (% of respondents)

In May 2016, global retail event and customer experience marketing company Interactions and Peanut Labs surveyed 2,011 US teens ages 14 to 19 on purchase habits, online and offline.

Of all the product categories that respondents were polled on, games were the only type of buy that the majority (57%) said they preferred to make digitally, according to the data. Meanwhile, for products like computers and clothing, US teens’ purchase preference tilted slightly more toward brick-and-mortars. And well over half of those surveyed said physical stores are the go-to for food, health and beauty, and shoe buys.

Channel that Is Top Priority for Improving the Customer Experience in 2016 According to US Retail Executives (% of respondents)

Teens aren’t the only ones who favor an in-store purchase in many categories. Research from Salesforce found that two-thirds of US internet users prefer to purchase clothing, shoes and accessories in-store. And nearly all (or 95%) of those polled said they’d rather buy food at a physical store, too.

US retail executives are listening. In another survey from TimeTrade, almost half of retail executives said the physical store is their key focus to cultivate a better customer experience this year. In contrast, less than one-fifth felt this way about social media (19%) and the web (14%).

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