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The Teen Panel begins to arrive…

A great
deal has been written about Millennials and latterly Gen Z with regard to the
way they interact with their social media and devices and how they shop. But
due to their age little regard is paid to the consumers of tomorrow until they
reach 18 and suddenly have the capacity to pay with credit cards and earn
proper salaries.

counteract this and to shine a light on the habits of the newest school year to
turn 13 and therefore be eligible to use a raft of social platforms (and yes,
we know under 13’s are on Insta already but we had to draw the line somewhere)
Retail Insider recently convened a mini-panel of young teenage girls together.

We wanted to see if and how their potential shopping habits could impact the high street, deliveries, sustainability in retail, technology in shops, and the whole way they will eventually locate and get the products they need.

Our panel
had plenty to say on the subject of shops but the good news for retailers on
the high street is that reports of youngsters no longer wanting to walk around
their local main shopping street or centre might be premature.

Our panel
all felt that the supposedly nostalgic pastime of walking up and down the high
street with your friends on a Saturday afternoon was very much alive and
kicking. “I go window shopping, that’s definitely not old fashioned,” one
noted, although there was universal disdain at the idea of queuing outside
shops on big sale days like Boxing Day.

At this age
our respondents were not in the habit of going outside their local area with
their friends so visiting large shopping centres further afield was still an
activity that happened with parents. On these family occasions most of our
panel preferred going earlier in the day before the malls were too busy but
they were no less keen to do it with their parents than their friends.

Once in the
shops however, the general consensus was that the space should not be crowded
out with every type and every colour in the product range. “I prefer a
minimalist space,” said one participant. “Just have one sample of every size
dress not 10.” With most agreeing that the clothing departments of some
retailers can resemble jumble sale counters at the end of a busy weekend day.

None of the
panellists were interested in personal styling or advice from store staff and
most preferred them to have a hands-off approach. “If I need help then I will
ask them. I don’t want them next to me all the time,” noted one.

However, everyone was agreed that shops remain important. “If I’m buying clothes for me then I will probably go into a shop that I like, try a few different styles on and then go home and buy it online where I can choose from the whole selection,” was the opinion of our oldest teen. Another commented that she gets birthday presents and gifts mainly online “because you can’t really get those wrong and have to return them”.

different product categories elicited different responses on the respective
roles of online and bricks and mortar units. Searching for a party dress for
most of our panel would mean browsing online first and then heading off to the
shops to try on when a selection had been narrowed down, whereas trying to buy
skinny jeans is more likely to entail trying on a couple of pairs first to
ascertain correct fitting size before eventually buying online. One of our
panel who often wears Nike or Adidas hoodies buys them all online and doesn’t
need to go into shops at all.

In terms of
searching online everyone was comfortable with using Google as a general search
engine, which would then throw up images of different brand products that could
be sifted through for the right product. Only one girl said she was in the
habit of using specialist shops to find what she needed while another said that
she often searched directly by brand.

And the damning verdict on the shopping habits of boys? “They don’t buy clothes,” said one girl. And that was that.

Glynn Davis, Retail Insider

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