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Teens actually prefer to shop in stores over online

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Retailers are having a tough year -- there have already been store closings and bankruptcy sales -- and it's only January. But there is one piece of good news.

According to a new study by IBM and the National Retail Federation, nearly all members of Gen Z (98 percent) prefer to shop in-store over online.

The study polled over 15,000 young consumers ages 13 to 21 from 16 different countries. 

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In this July 27, 2015, photo, Arianna Schaden, 14, browses clothes at Roosevelt Field shopping mall in Garden City, N.Y. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Despite Gen Z being the first "digitally native" generation, 67 percent shop at brick-and-mortar stores most of the time. Thirty-one percent still shop in stores occasionally.

Sure, teens are less likely to have credit cards. But the study found that of the 74 percent of teens that spend their free time online, a scant 17 percent said they use that time to shop. And, less than 30 percent of teens feel comfortable sharing credit card information online.

"They appreciate the hands-on experience of shopping in a store," NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a statement.

However, these shoppers aren't exactly thrilled about the current in-store shopping experience.

When it comes to engaging teens, retailers should think first about the experience.

Globally, there will be 2.6 billion members of Generation Z by 2020. And this generation has access to $44 billion in buying power.

For retailers, this means rethinking how they engage with shoppers. For these consumers, a fun shopping experience is interactive and fully immersive.

“Generation Z expects technology to be intuitive, relevant and engaging -- their last great experience is their new expectation,” IBM General Manager of Global Consumer Industries Steve Laughlin said.


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