Teen Vogue and ICSC Study: How Millennials Shop

In What's New, Industry News by Lauren Parker

Teen Vogue So just how will that elusive Millennial/Gen Z consumer navigate the malls, the web and social media as they plan this year’s back to school shopping?

Teen Vogue and the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) set out to explore just that, as well as how much teens plan to spend, reasons for shopping in-store versus online, and more.

One interesting finding? That back to school actually continues into school, with 47% of respondents saying their start shopping before school starts but continue throughout the fall.

Check out some other findings of the online survey, which yielded more than 1,000 responses from Teen Vogue’s IT GIRL panel*:

Investing in a Fresh Start
Back-to-school is an important time of year for Millennials, with 80% of respondents saying it’s a chance for a fresh start, and 70% of them looking forward to trying new trends and styles. And they’re choosing to shop—84% of respondents plan to spend the same or more this year on back-to-school purchases.

Trend Report:
Top Three Ways Respondents Spend Their Own Money

  • 83% Fashion
  • 72% Dining out
  • 64% Beauty products

In-Store Still Sells
59% of respondents will primarily shop in-store for their back-to-school purchases, 35% will shop both in-store and online, and just 6% will shop exclusively online.

Malls Matter to Millennials
They look forward to spending time at the mall during the back-to-school season.

Top Three Reasons:

  • 73% They like that so many stores are in one place
  • 44% They love in-store promotions
  • 33% They can shop with friends

Social Media Shoppers
Smartphones are an essential element of back-to-school shopping, with 75% of respondents saying 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.

Trend Report:

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

Most Popular Social Media Platforms
Where they will talk about and share images of back-to-school shopping:

  • 78% Instagram
  • 55% Snapchat

She’s Making Her Back-to-School List
The number one “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

What Retailers Need To Know
Lost loyalty? 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

In-Store vs. Online:

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, et cetera)

Top factors driving online purchases:

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

*Teen Vogue IT GIRLS are a self-selecting community of 75,000 United States–based beauty- and fashion-savvy females, ages 13–29, who opt in to participate in Teen Vogue research initiatives, promotions, and events.

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