Shops Neglect Older Generations to Woo Younger Shoppers; UK Marketers Missing Global Opportunities

RetailTechNews’ weekly roundup brings you up-to-date research findings from around the world. In this week’s edition: Shops Neglect Older Generations to Woo Younger Shoppers; UK Marketers Missing Global Opportunities; Luxury Shoppers Active on Black Friday.

Shops Neglect Older Generations to Woo Younger Shoppers

Shops are shifting focus away from shoppers ‘of a certain age’ in a bid to woo younger spenders, new research from Hitachi Consulting has shown. According to the study, almost three-quarters (74%) of stores are increasingly focusing their operations and service on 19-38 year-olds, potentially in a bid to capitalise on mobile and digital spending, as well as capturing the long-term loyalty of the next-generation of shoppers.

The research showed some disparity between how chain stores and independents tackle these different age groups, with a staggering 89% of independent retailers targeting Gen Z and Millennials, compared to 73% of chain stores. Less than one-in-ten (8%) of chain stores indicated they were targeting all age groups equally, compared to just 3% of independents.

This focus is also clear from retailers’ priorities for flagship stores, with over a quarter (26%) suggesting that the most important feature of their flagship store for the future is augmented/virtual reality or drones, with only 14% focusing on more pragmatic innovations like till-free shopping and 13% on improved digital signage.

Pierson Broome, retail SME, Hitachi Consulting, says that: “Retailers focusing on novelty rather than innovation may succeed in grabbing attention for a season or two, but if done in isolation, it becomes a race to the bottom. Instead, retailers should focus on a diverse, meaningful strategy that adds real value and business efficiency.”

UK Marketers Missing Global Opportunities

Nearly three-quarters (74%) of UK marketers are missing out on global opportunities because of their always-on marketing approach that doesn’t allow for regional focuses, according to Rakuten Marketing. More than half (56%) of marketers say they now keep marketing campaigns constant throughout the year.

With China Single’s Day fast approaching, and Golden Week having come and gone, this could be a huge miss for brands. Singles’ Day 2017 saw online shoppers from at least 225 countries and regions spend more than USD$25bn (£19.12bn) across Alibaba’s platforms – more than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined – but just 13% of UK marketers are focused on the China-led sales day.

Despite the lack of focus, nearly two-thirds of UK marketers believe their target customers outside of the UK are wealthier (62%), younger (64%), and more digitally savvy (71%). This sentiment is highest among marketers targeting Asia-Pacific, where 82% confirm they see their customer base in the region as ‘premium buyers’.

To reach customers in the lucrative Chinese market, marketers must not only embrace seasonal peaks and the opportunity therein, they must think about the additional platforms they use. Some UK marketers are increasingly using platforms such as the messaging app, WeChat: 36% have used the platform personally. Similarly, 30% have tried the microblogging website Weibo and 18% have tried the social network Renren.

Luxury Shoppers Active on Black Friday

Over three-quarters (76%) of UK mid-market shoppers will switch to luxury brands including Selfridges, Burberry, Mulberry, and Omega this Christmas, according to research from Bazaarvoice.

The reports shows that 61% who are now looking to buy Christmas gifts from luxury brands are looking to buy them at a discount on Black Friday, while they are also the most likely to buy gifts on Boxing Day (46%) when the sales start. The migration from the mid-market is tied to the eruption in budget brands and discount days, with 69% of UK respondents stating they will now shop at Argos, TK Maxx, H&M, and Tiger.

Amazon continues to claim a monopoly around the festive period; and when it comes to consumer perceptions of where the best product deals are over the winter sales period, 60% of all shoppers place it on top. Amazon continues to grow its stake of the Christmas shopping frenzy with UK, French, and German consumers estimating they will conduct 43% of their shopping on the platform this year – a 4.3% increase from what they spent on Amazon for Christmas in 2017.

However, in the run-up to Christmas, respondents said the contributing factors to not choosing global marketplaces such as Amazon are the delays in delivery (42%) and articles selling out (28%). This has been caused by so many shoppers flooding the site and completing purchases simultaneously.