GenZ preferences good news for malls – no so much for downtowns

Here’s some good news for malls – not so much for downtowns or big online sellers like Amazon.

Generation Z is rapidly coming of age, and new studies show they like hanging out at the mall just as much as their GenX parents did when they were youngsters. They like the shopping experience, but so far, they’re not big fans of downtowns or outlets. And bear in mind, we’re talking about a national trend. Some signs are showing up locally but don’t expect to see packs of mall rats immediately.

This youngest generation is always online, but they are not TV watchers. They use social media as much if not more than Millennials. It’s their town square for product and service discussion and comparison.  And today’s big online sellers are not, especially in favor.

This generation is roughly defined as those born between 1995 and 2012. The most current Census count shows there are about 109,000 of them in the Tri-Cities. About 44,000 are in their early 20s and late teens. They account for 21.8% of the population – just below the Millennial’s 23.5% share.

Kiplinger reports GenZ influences about 93% of household spending. Data on their habits and preferences are evolving but according to WJSchroer Co. says they will be a highly diverse generation. They have grown up with sophisticated media, and in a computer environment, so they’re Internet savvy.

Their most noteworthy flexing of generation muscle has been in political activism in the wake of a school shooting and gun control.