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Millennials & Gen Z’s 10 Favorite Places to Shop OFFLINE

Brick-and-mortar, physical, in-store shopping is changing—but it’s not disappearing, and it’s still the preference for the majority of young consumers. So what’s their favorite place to go shopping offline? We asked…

Experiencification, pop-ups, retail hotels, in-store cafés—retailers are trying every trick in the book to keep up with young consumers as more shopping shifts online. Brick-and-mortar retail is clearly changing, but it’s not disappearing. In the fight to stay relevant, footprints might shrink, fashion cycles might speed up, and niche brands might be launched, but in-store shopping isn’t going anywhere—because it’s still a preference for the majority of the Millennials and Gen Z consumers that are fueling all this change in the first place.

In our recent shopping and fashion survey, when we asked Millennials and Gen Z, “In general, would you rather shop online or in a physical store?” 56% of 13-35-year-olds (and 62% of 13-17-year-olds) told us they would rather shop in a physical store than online. Apparel shopping only increases that divide: 76% of 13-35-year-olds would rather shop for clothing in a physical store than online. Of course, online shopping is growing, and the convenience of clicking to buy is going to continue to eat away at brick-and-mortar’s dominance, but when it comes down to it, young consumers still want to go into a store to pick things out. To find out what stores they especially want to visit right now, we asked 1000 13-35-year-olds to tell us, “Regardless of category, what is your favorite place to shop in a physical store?”* Here are their top answers, ranked:

*This was an open-end response question to allow us to capture the full range of places to shop in a physical store that Millennials and Gen Z say are favorites—without our preconceived ideas shaping their responses. As with any qualitative question, the responses include those that are top of mind and those that are most popular. The lists are ordered according to number of responses received, and alphabetically when ties occurred.

What Is Their Favorite Place to Shop in a Physical Store?


  1. Target
  2. Walmart
  3. Forever 21
  4. Marshalls
  5. Kohl’s
  6. TJ Maxx
  7. Macy’s
  8. H&M
  9. Best Buy
  10. Costco / ROSS (tied for 10th)

Target continues to charm Millennials and Gen Z, ranking as their top favorite spot to shop in a physical store, once again, by a landslide. As we’ve seen before, being a one-stop-shop that sells “everything” was perhaps the most common reason that Target was named—which echoes to the reasons that Amazon is their favorite place to shop online. But young consumers also spoke of the experience of shopping at Target, with one 29-year-old female explaining, “Because I get lost in it and remember things I’ve been meaning to buy for like two years.” Another 27-year-old female gave this enthusiastic review: “Target feels like home. I know what I can find in it and where to go once I’m in the store. It’s not too big or too small. It’s not too expensive or too cheap.” Target is discount without feeling cheap, and for two generations who have been trained to shop for bargains, that’s hard to resist.

Looking at this list, it’s clear that Millennial and Gen Z favorites are also those places they can afford to shop. Their top five favorite places to shop in-store is a discount-retailer heavyweight list. According to Business Insider, young shoppers aren’t following a spending pattern that “companies have capitalized on for years.” Recently, Goldman Sachs looked at the difference between generations that has retailers scrambling to adapt: “Millennials are far less likely to buy something because it’s convenient…Rather, they’re focusing on value.” With limited funds, young consumers are waiting for the best deals, and clearly they’re loving shopping at the places that provide those deals.

Though there are slight differences across groups (females and Millennials favor Target over Walmart, and males and Gen Z were more likely to name GameStop as a favorite) value retailers claim the top two spots among all groups. So, young consumers shopping at discount stores aren’t just doing it because they have to—they’ve learned to love it.

To download the PDF version of this insight article, click here.