Coldwell Banker: Millennials & Retail Still Go Hand in Hand

A new survey from Coldwell Banker Commercial about purchase preferences reveals Millennials in large part still enjoy shopping in physical stores, with a surprising 73 percent saying they enjoy the experience of being in a store or mall.
Fred Schmidt

Fred Schmidt, Coldwell Banker Commercial

By Keith Loria, Contributing Editor

A new survey from Coldwell Banker Commercial about purchase preferences reveals Millennials in large part still enjoy shopping in physical stores, with a surprising 73 percent saying they enjoy the experience of being in a store or mall.

“The premise of the survey was predicated on what the drivers for demand for commercial real estate in the retail sector was,” Fred Schmidt, Coldwell Banker Commercial’s president & COO, told Commercial Property Executive. “The biggest takeaway was counter to conventional wisdom, Millennials like to shop and like to be in a physical location to shop and have that experience.”

The survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults also looked at purchase preferences for Gen Xers and Boomers, but largely focused on Millennials and the segment’s impact on retail.

“Millennials are 74 million strong and they will drive demand for commercial real estate for the next 20-25 years so it’s an important indicator of what their preferences are going forward,” Schmidt said. “For an owner of space or buildings, the physical presence is still very important and the customer experience—the live, work, play elements—are extremely important.”

One of the more interesting results from the survey was that most Americans, but especially Millennials at 73 percent, stated that shopping at a store or mall is an activity they enjoy with others. Of the other generations, Gen Xers registered at 58 percent and Boomers at 52 percent.

Also, although technology continues to have a significant impact on how Americans buy and sell products, when prices are similar, most Americans prefer to research products online, but make purchases in a physical store. According to the results, nearly three quarters of Millennials prefer to make purchases in a store (74 percent), compared to 70 percent of Gen Xers and 76 percent of Boomers.

“When you look at the general press out there, everything is talking about e-commerce vs. bricks and mortar and it’s really ‘bricks and clicks,’ it’s not one group and another group, it’s all the same consumer,” Schmidt added. “A large percentage of ecommerce is through traditional retailers, and they need to pay attention to the total community experience.”