Striking out with Centennials? Here's why

When purchasing online, majority of Centennials (82%) will not use an app or website that is difficult to navigate while 86% said they will not use an app or website that takes too long to load.

According to the "Here Comes the Centennial: Southeast Asia’s New Generation of Shoppers" report, produced by Econsultancy in collaboration with Dentsu Aegis Network, Centennials value easy online research and product discovery. The report, which surveyed 3,055 consumers in Southeast Asia aged 16 to 23 from countries including Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, said Centennials are likely to be the first generation for which the "Zero Moment of Truth" has been a part of their lives ever since they had spending power.

Besides having an easy online experience, Centennials are also on the lookout for free or fast delivery, with 52% listing this as one of the most important qualities of an online store. This was followed by low prices (50%) and good customer service (42%).

Meanwhile, building up a prestigious image and commanding a physical location are the least important qualities for Centennials. Only 11% of those surveyed indicated a prestigious or famous brand as one of their important qualities when shopping online, while 9% favoured brands with a physical store associated to it. The report also noted that this group of consumers also prefer to buy products from ethical/sustainable brands (82%), while 70% buy from local brands.

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Centennials prefer webrooming to showrooming

While online shopping might be popular among the younger generation, 97% of Centennials said they browse for products online before buying in-store. This trend is known as "Research online, purchase offline" (ROPO), also known as webrooming, and most Centennials do it as they are searching for the best price (70%). This is followed by checking out product details and specifications (67%) and reading up on product reviews (65%).

Specifically in Singapore, 93% of Centennials practice webrooming while 82% engaged in showrooming. The trend can be attributed to Singapore's high population density, well-developed network of modern retail environments and ease of accessing physical retail locations. This means that some Singapore Centennials may be more inclined to conduct more research in-store.

The report suggested that in general, retailers should offer well-designed stores or focus exclusively on brand building campaigns to drive sales. Additionally, retailers should also focus on the opportunity presented by multi-screen shoppers, enhancing brand experience and utility of their online offering. For retailers with physical stores, they should ensure their purchasing journey is easy to complete directly from a smartphone.

On the other hand, 90% of Centennials practice showrooming and listed price comparison (68%) and having a better idea of the product's physical qualities (63%) as the two main reasons for doing so. Showrooming is especially popular with product types that require sensory examinations such as fashion (64%), electronics (53%) and beauty (40%).

(Photo courtesy: 123RF)