May 17, 2023
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Consumers ready to embrace shopping tech says Klarna research

May 17, 2023

Shoppers are ready to embrace the world of technology that’s opening up before them, new research from BNPL giant Klarna claims.

Photo: Pexels

In a forward-looking report, the company said that the research shows the next generation of shoppers “will prefer real-life shopping over virtual reality but crave tech innovation to elevate their shopping experience”.

It added that 81% of Gen Z’ers are “expecting augmented reality (AR) to enhance in-store shopping and 70% stating that more personalisation is key to their purchase intent”.

Klarna spoke to more than 5,000 consumers in five countries and teamed up with retail expert Kate Hardcastle to look at how shopping could evolve.

With the company having been operating for 18 years, its Future of Retail report looks at where shopping might be in another 18 years, when Gen Z’ers will turn 40 and together with Millennials will be the dominant consumers.

It said 70% of consumers want the shopping experience to become more personalised in the future, but 42% are sure retail will still happen both in-store and online. 

Meanwhile, less than half of Gen Z’ers believe they’ll try on clothes in the same way as today (44%). Instead, 40% want to use virtual dressing rooms, 18% AR, and 23% will rely on articial intelligence (AI) to advise which clothes best fit their body and fashion style. 

It also said that “well-mannered robot fashion advisors and virtual personal shopping assistants are in high demand”. Half of Gen Z’ers are open to the idea of a robot approaching them in-store to take their measurements and recommend styles, with an additional 21% considering it depending on how the robot looks and behaves. In addition, 34% want access to virtual ‘personal shoppers’ that can provide recommendations based on their fashion style and taste when they shop online.

Gen Z’ers (81%) and Millennials (75%) generally expect AR to enhance their in-store shopping experience and 33% think that this technology will eventually become standard across retail stores. 

But VR won’t replace the real-life shopping experience. Only 41% of Gen Z'ers and 38% of Millennials believe that shopping via VR will surpass the real-life shopping experience within the next two decades. 

It’s interesting that 57% of consumers of all ages agree with the prediction that the majority of physical stores will be completely cash-free in 18 years’ time, and 33% of Gen Z’ers even believe it will be so within five years. 

And shoppers are also very eco-focused. Some 51% of all four generations (including Gen X and Boomers) agree that the circular economy should take a larger share of the total shopping industry and 52% say that fashion needs to become more sustainability-oriented in the future. 

Meanwhile close to a third of consumers think they’ll sell and buy pre-owned items more often. 

David Sandström, Chief Marketing Officer at Klarna, said of the study that European shopping might become more like the Chinese experience: “In the western world, approximately 80% of all online purchases are made through search, while the remaining 20% are based on personalised recommendations. In contrast, in China, 80% of online purchases are driven by personalised recommendations. This study confirms that shoppers in the western world desire a comparable shopping experience.”

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