For Some Millennial Women, the Search Starts at the Mall 

Younger women research apparel online, but buy in-store

Author: Krista Garcia

January 18, 2018

The changing face of the American mall points to consumers’ shifting priorities and tastes. But while malls may be taking on a different kind of identity, there’s at least one consumer segment that still favors that traditional shopping experience: millennial women.

A November 2017 study from Dealspotr, a social network devoted to shopping and deals, surveyed 500 US millennials about their apparel buying habits. The study found 37% of millennial women started their search for new clothing and apparel at the mall.

In fact, millennial women were more likely to visit malls first when looking for new clothing than to search for it on a brand’s site or apps, on Instagram, or even on Amazon or Google.

The study also found that while over a third of millennial women start their search at the mall, nearly two-thirds prefer to make purchases in-store.

Those findings fall in line with another November 2017 survey, this time from Roth Capital Partners, which found a large share (62.7%) of millennials—of both genders, in this poll's case—would rather buy in physical stores. 

Similarly, a July 2017 study from SmarterHQ revealed that half of millennial internet users said they preferred to shop in-store, with females shopping in stores 9% more often than males.

“In the age of the smartphone camera, being in-store enables a hybrid real-world-plus-digital-world experience, in which the women take photos of themselves in various clothing and send them to friends who are elsewhere to solicit their opinions,” said Mark Dolliver, senior analyst at eMarketer.

And sure enough, female shoppers were much more likely than males to use their cameras in-store, as well as solicit opinions from friends and family about products in a Euclid Analytics study from last year.