Beauty Store Business magazine - January, 2020

Millennial, Gen Z Consumers Spend for Back-To-School

In order to understand the way influential Millennial and Gen Z consumers shop during the all-important back-to-school season, Teen Vogue and the International Council of Shopping Centers partnered to explore and identify how malls, the Web and social media factor into their retail experiences, as well as how much they plan to spend, their reasons for shopping in-store versus online and more. 

According to the online survey, which yielded more than 1,000 responses from Teen Vogue's IT GIRL panel:

Important factors in the back-to-school experience:

80% of respondents said that back-to-school is a chance for a fresh start
  • 70% are looking forward to trying new trends and styles
  • 84% plan to spend the same or more this year on back-to-school purchases

Top 3 ways respondents spend their own money:

  • 83% Fashion
  • 72% Dining out

Forty-seven percent will start shopping before school starts and continue throughout the fall. How they'll shop

  • 59% of respondents will primarily shop in-store for their back-to-school purchases
  • 35% will shop both in-store and online
  • 6% will shop exclusively online

Top 3 reasons malls matter:

  • 73% like that so many stores are in one place
  • 44% love in-store promotions
  • 33% said it's because they can shop with friends 

The value of social media for shoppers:

Seventy-five percent said they will seek out inspiration and ideas on social media. On average, respondents dedicate 2.5 hours a day to fashion and style on social media.

Shopping trends:

  • 68% will research deals and promotions while shopping
  • 43% will visit the store or brand's website while shopping

The social-media platforms where they will talk about and share images of back-to-school shopping:

  • 78% Instagram
  • 55% Snapchat

Must-have back-to-school items:

The No. 1 "must-have" item on respondents' back-to-school lists: a great bag, followed by perfect-fitting denim.
When asked to rank other important items, respondents listed:
#1 Everyday casual clothing
#2 Shoes
#3 Bags
#4 Technology
#5 Activewear/Workout

Advice from the Millennial consumer on ways to win her back:

  • Quality and price should be equal
  • There should be clothing options that fit every girl
  • The store and shopping environment should be clean and organized
  • Be a good corporate citizen because the consumer is watching

Top factors driving respondents to a specific mall, store or retail location:

  • Instant gratification—they want their purchases right away
  • They think it's fun to go into a store
  • Overall experience (friends, eating, movies, etc.)

Top factors driving online purchases:

  • Convenience
  • Easy access to a wide selection
  • The opportunity to find better deals

[Image: Getty Images/John Giustina]