Millennials ‘shifting trends’ in shopping

Amazon; Amazon.com
FILE - In this June 30, 2011 file photo, a United Parcel Service driver delivers packages from Amazon.com in Palo Alto, Calif. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Shoppers have changed their expectations on what they expect from retailers, and while an event like Black Friday or Cyber Monday is good entertainment, it doesn’t have the cachet it once did.

So says Tom Gillpatrick, the executive director of the PSU Center for Retail Leadership.

Shoppers, he said, are better and more knowledgeable about the timing of sales and use technology to help find discounts.

“We definitely are seeing shifting trends” in the way Americans shop, Gillpatrick told KOIN 6 News. “For the very first time, this Black Friday there was more online sales than in the stores.”

Black Friday Sales, Shoppers, J.C. Penny
A sign promoting Black Friday specials is displayed in the window of a J.C. Penny store as shoppers queue up at the door for a 3 p.m. opening, Thursday, Nov. 26, 2015, in northeast Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Brick-and-mortar retailers saw sales go up about 3%, he said, but online sales jumped 20% this year.

“The online business keeps getting bigger and bigger,” he said, noting Target, Walmart and Costco are more into online sales than previously.

“The big dog, Amazon, has everyone scared.”

Olivia Kincaid, Nichole Simmons and Mattie Szabo are the profiles of new shoppers.

Amazon boxes in a mailbox (SpecOut)
Amazon boxes in a mailbox (SpecOut)

“I’d definitely check something on Amazon before I buy it in the store just because it’s cheaper,” she told KOIN 6 News. “Why go outside and leave the house when you can just shop at home in your pajamas?” she said with a thumbs-up sign.

Nichole Simmons agreed. She said shopping on Black Friday was “not worth the hassle,” and said she would look online for deals she wanted.

Mattie Szabo said she does a lot of online shopping now because she doesn’t want to deal with the big crowds. “But when I want to go to the store it’s just fun that way, too.”

Gillpatrick noted millennials are looking for local retailers and local businesses. “Probably there’s no greater epicenter of that trend than here in Portland, Oregon.”

Smaller retailers, he said, bring an online experience to their shoppers for a winning combination.

“You have to have an online presence along with your instore presence,” he said, “and the magic is having both.”

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