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Generation Z will be a new breed of retail consumer


Generation Z will be a new breed of retail consumer


A decade is a long time, but with the new digital consumer already on our doorstep, now is the time for all retailers to strategically plan for the next 10 years, writes Andrew Mathwin in this post on how Generation Z will shop.


If you thought the last 10 years delivered significant change in how we do business via mobile technology and social media, you might be in for a real shock by 2020.

Just six years from now our new elite buyers, Generation Z, the so-called digital natives and dot-com kids, will be the most technologically literate generation… ever.

Even before they are fully-fledged adult buyers, Generation Z has never known life without the internet, mobile devices and apps. When they have their own money to spend they will demand businesses are much more sophisticated in the way the present and price their products and services. Generation Z members will use technology and their own small networks to make more informed decisions than ever before.

Coinciding with this coming of age for Generation Z will be a tipping point for the widespread adoption of mobile wallets among retailers, merchants and consumers.

In April, Commonwealth Bank said it expects that more than seven in 10 Australians will use mobile wallets to completely replace their physical wallet, cash and card payments within six and a half years. Allied Market Research says that the global mobile wallet market value is set to reach $5.25 trillion by 2020.

Combining customer data from mobile wallets and ins-store technology will be used to dramatically enhance the shopping experience for customers and retailers.

For retailers the technology will enable brands to know more about every consumer than ever before, allowing them able to adapt an in-store experience to your needs; based on the knowledge of your purchase history, loyalty, propensity to impulse buy and financial tolerance.

For customers, imagine a shopping experience that has:

  • Wi-Fi enabled price tags adjusting sales prices based on your proximity to the product in order to tempt you into a purchase based on your previous behaviour, likelihood of buying and your loyalty card status,
  • in-store signage recommending products to you based on previous purchases, what your friends own or like and then helps you easily visualise your purchase through new wearable augmented reality technology, and
  • scrapped the checkout process because scanning an item in-store will allow immediate payment and trigger a delivery team to package it up ready to handover as you exit the store.


The mobile experience will also become more intuitive. Websites and apps will be smarter and personalise content to be more individually relevant based on your previous purchase behaviour. Your social media data will be used to remind you what your friends bought recently, their experiences with the product and how they feel about it after using it. This data is likely to create a central website for all your personal needs based on your digital persona. Acting more as a personal assistant your mobile will start to interact more seamlessly with the physical environment to enhance every moment of your life.

This all might sound a little way off but this technology is already being adopted in test areas worldwide for businesses seeking a competitive edge.

With the new digital consumer already on our doorstep, now is the time for all retailers to strategically plan for the next 10 years. No matter how small or big your business, by planning now you might have a fighting chance of attracting the new breed of consumer when they are ready to spend.


Andrew Mathwin, head of strategy at Clarity Communications, has been working in the marketing industry for more than 14 years. He was the head of global social media at Jetstar, has worked at WA property developer LandCorp and has worked at the cutting edge of mobile and social technology at Melbourne-based social and mobile startup PlayUp, where he marketed the product to be a top-five free sports app across China, Australia, UK, India and the USA. On Twitter he’s @matho77.


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