What do Gen Z shoppers really want?

Retail essentials and customized experiences top their list

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Executive overview

Authors: Jane Cheung

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, Global Leader for Consumer Products, IBM Institute for Business Value,
Karl Haller

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, Global Leader, Consumer Center of Competence, IBM Global Business Services,
Simon Glass

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, Global Retail Leader,
Christopher K. Wong

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, Vice President of Strategy and Ecosystem, IBM Global Consumer Industry

In search of the optimal shopping experience Gen Z shoppers are full of surprises. On the one hand, they want what their parents want — seamless delivery of retail essentials, such as value, choice, quality, convenience and availability. On the other hand, as digital natives, they have their own expectations for how they want those essentials delivered. Technology is important to them, but only if it adds value and enhances their shopping experience. And they expect to be able to make that experience uniquely their own. Brands would do well to act now: while only 36 percent of Gen Z shoppers in our study said they had a strong connection to a brand, the number increased to 46 percent among those aged 19-21. The potential benefits are great, but the window of time for winning over this new and important generation is closing fast.


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