Young People’s Shopping Habits Are Forever Changed Because of COVID — Here’s What They Want From Retailers In 2021

As the pandemic rages on — fueling fresh anxiety across the retail sector — there’s no question it has permanently altered the landscape. Now it’s becoming more clear how consumers will change their shopping habits next year.

Rewards app Shopkick surveyed more than 14,000 Americans to gain insight into their buying patterns, and there are some notable generational trends.

For one, 55 % of Gen Z consumers say they will shop more frequently at retailers or brands that align with their core values in 2021.  Millennials aren’t far behind, with about 47% saying they will seek stores that share their beliefs. That’s not surprising at a time when more and more young Americans are making their positions clear on politics, social justice and equality.

While younger shoppers are focused heavily on social issues, every generation is emphasizing safety.

Even after the pandemic wanes, about 75% of boomers plan to take personal precautions, like wearing a mask or carrying hand sanitizer, when shopping in store. About 71% of Gen Xers, 70% of millennials and 61% of Gen Z consumers confirmed that safety will be top of mind permanently.

Another key finding of the survey reflects the powerful position of basics-focused retailers such as Amazon, Walmart and Target, which have only gotten stronger this year.

About 67% of consumers say they will keep essentials stocked up going forward and almost half of the group surveyed said they will take fewer, but bigger shopping trips.

All told, about 60% of shoppers said the coronavirus pandemic has forever changed their shopping habits.

While it’s critical for retailers to hammer out innovative strategies for 2021 and beyond, they will be focused on some more immediate challenges as cases spike this week and cities like Chicago issue stay-at-home advisories.

One thing is clear: there’s never been a holiday season with more uncertainty.

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