Amaze presents bleak vision of the high street as youngsters prefer online

Stephen Chapman's picture
by Stephen Chapman

The decline of the high street looks set to continue, according to the latest results from Amaze’s 5 year study into the impact of technology on 10-15 year olds.

The study group believes that the move from bricks and mortar shopping to online is “inevitable”, suggesting that the only future of the high street is “showrooming” with transactions done digitally.

Now in its 3rd year, researchers heard that “people shop online because it is more convenient” and that “nobody can afford to buy stuff that isn’t absolutely necessary.”

The group argued that shops have struggled “because of tastes and preferences of consumers” and that stores have “had to close down due to massive changes in how people use technology.” One participant summed up the group view: “Even though I rarely actually bought anything from there [HMV] I enjoyed browsing.”

The generation of “digital natives” said the preference for online was due to convenience, wider choice and ease, while the high street was purely there to see items before purchasing.

“The shopping habits of the Amaze Generation has undergone a revolution, with shopping online clearly gaining in popularity.  Whilst the use of mobile for shopping has yet to take hold with this generation, it will be extremely interesting to see how this develops given the overall increasing popularity of the device. This savvy, technologically connected age group are clear about what they want – ease of use, convenience and choice,” said Natalie Gross, CEO at Amaze.

“The importance of social shopping and the influence of peers online is also a huge factor that retailers and brands need to take into account to connect with this group of digital natives. It is interesting to see how the group uses technology as an easy way to share and decide what to buy, even when purchasing in-store.  The process of shopping is changing forever and the trends we can observe from the group give us a unique insight into the future of online retail.”

When asked about “social shopping” the group said it did play an important role, with friends and family being very influential. Using social media channels, two-thirds of those questioned had shared a photo of items they were considering buying with friends, while almost the entire group had done this while shopping online. Two-thirds also said they read online product details and studied reviews.

PCs and laptops are the most popular way to buy online, with a third using tablets. Only one participant had used their phone for a purchase.

The study was set up in 2011, closely following a group of 10-15 year olds to understand “how they interact with and are shaped by technology over time.”

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