3 Tech-Forward Trends That Could Change Shopping

As shopping for young consumers becomes more mobile than ever before, these three tech trends could change retail as we know it…

In our recent Shoppability trend, we researched the ways that the whole world is becoming a showroom for Gen Z and Millennials. The retail apocalypse is a reality, social media is influencing more purchases than traditional advertisements, and smartphones are the new shopping cart. In fact, Ypulse’s research on the subject found that 88% of 13-35-year-olds shop on their phones. Welcome to the evolution of shopping. Young consumers’ challenging consumption behavior has forced brands to get creative about in-person buying, opening whole new avenues of brick-and-mortar shopping, while the online and offline shopping experiences continue to merge.

For Millennials and Gen Z, this means a rising expectation that the whole world is shoppable, and wherever they go—from Instagram to hotels—the items they see are an “add to cart” click away. Over three in five 13-35-year-olds agree: “I wish everything in life had a link to purchase it.” As this expectation becomes their norm, new tech is helping brands turn their phones into personal shoppers, and to turn the world into their showroom. Here are three trends that could meet Gen Z and Millennials in their mobile carts and help change retail:

Millennial research, Millennial insight, Millennial marketing, Gen Z research, Gen Z marketing, Gen Z insight, youth research, youth marketing1. SOCIAL SHOPPING

The impact of social media on retail cannot be overstated. Shopping through social media is becoming more of a norm, and young consumers are expecting that everything they see online is available for purchase in some form or another. Racked reports that Instagram ads are the new infomercials, selling “As Seen On TV”-style products like novelty sweatshirts and luxe shower caps. One exec explains that “Millennials grew up cynical, suspicious of the world,” but…

 
 

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Quote of the Day: “Retail should be a facilitator for experience, rather than just selling product.”—Sharmandean Reid, Founder, Wah Nails London (YPulse)

Millennials seeking portable booze are cracking open canned wine. Even though the category still only accounts for less than 1% of the Millennial-favorite alcoholic beverages’ market, Nielsen reports it spiked 69% last year and continues to gain ground. An exec at Delicato Family Wines explains, “Millennials have grown up in a world where consuming wine outdoors—or any location outside of the traditional table—is more acceptable than generations past.” (Wine Spectator)

Summer camps are cropping up to teach kids how to become YouTubers. At I-D Tech Camps, Level Up, and Star Camps, kids can learn all about how to, as the latter puts it, “Become an Internet sensation.” They offer courses in how to create and post videos, from shooting clips to editing audio, and how to build their personal brand. But don’t worry, most are framing YouTubing as a hobby, not a career, and setting kids’ expectations accordingly. (WSJ)

A new bill could change the free-to-play profit model that’s made games like Fortnite top earners. Senators have proposed the official ban of “loot boxes,” or items that players can buy (and sometimes must buy) to win a video game, often gambling on what’s inside. Senator Ed Markey explains that “Inherently manipulative game features that take advantage of kids and turn play time into pay time should be out of bounds.” For some, this will eliminate a key revenue stream and open the door to review other in-game purchases.  (The Verge)

A social media overhaul upped Corn Nuts’ sales by 12%—with no paid support.The snack’s sales were stagnant before a new exec took over their Twitter, infusing it with the personable tone food brands have become known for (and sometimes notorious for). Since then, followers spiked from 650 to 21,000, and what they’re calling a “scrappy” strategy “absolutely translated to sales,” reporting that retail sales spiked 12% and Millennials’ repeat purchases rose the same percentage. (Marketing Dive)

The retail apocalypse continues, with 7,000 more stores closing their doors in 2019. CoStar Group estimates that the square footage of retail space closed has topped its own record each year since 2017, and this year they’re “predicting more of the same.” PayLess ShoeSource, Gymboree, Dressbarn, and Charlotte Russe lead the list of number stores planned to shutter this year, as retailers learn to scale down size and up Experiencification for young shoppers. (Business Insider

Quote of the Day: “It’s a really interesting time at the moment in catalog [music]…Sometimes, it’s a question of how we make something out of nothing.”—Tim Fraser-Harding, President, Global Catalogue, Recorded Music at Warner Music Group (Rolling Stone)

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