And the Unhappiest Shoppers Are…

As we head into November, I find myself inundated with holiday surveys, with experts weighing in on everything from the busiest shopping days of the season to the impact of smartphones. To be honest, all of the data seem to blend together after a while, leaving me dizzy with projections and predictions.

A recently released survey by global design consultancy Fitch provides a refreshing break from all the holiday chatter. It’s the type of survey I like best — full of consumer insights. Among the more interesting was that as women age, they find the shopping experience less enjoyable. The most fulfilled female shopper is between 16 and 24 years of age. The results suggest that stores are designed for the young, which translates into a big opportunity for retailers to redress the balance.

The Fitch study is titled “The Joy of Shopping.” But as it turns out, the joy is not the same across the board. Consider these findings:

• The British are the most unhappy shoppers in the world, with only 21% claiming to enjoy shopping.

• The Chinese are most enthusiastic shoppers, with 55% enjoying shopping.

• By category, the highest levels of shoppers’ enthusiasm were found in electronics, with 43% of consumers calling themselves very enthusiastic, while 40% enjoy the experience.

• When it comes to shopping for fashion, 37.4% of consumers are enthusiasts and 51.9% enjoy it.

• There are wide disparities by country when it comes to shopping. Shoppers in the emerging markets of China, India and Brazil are much more enthusiastic and satisfied in their shopping experiences than their counterparts in more mature markets.

The survey also drove home something that too often gets lost in the rush to embrace digital retail: Brick-and-mortar stores are in no danger of going away soon. Shoppers across the world still see physical stores as the most preferred shopping channel. In fact, 54% of respondents rated physical stores as the most preferred shopping channel, while 30% preferred the Web. (The Internet, however, is seen to be significantly more important in emerging markets than in more mature markets.)

That is not to say, however, that retailers can put blinders on when it comes to the future. Don’t think off- or online, according to Fitch; think seamless. The days of silo retail are over. As the study puts it:

“Don’t look at store design or operations in isolation. Consider your retail experience in totality, as a matrix, and look for ways to enhance shopper experiences across channels and mind-states. Help your shoppers move through your experience, effortlessly and on their terms.”

*****

There is still time to enter a nomination for our “Rising Stars: 20 Under 40” awards, which will recognize retailers who are making their marks in their companies and in the retail industry.

To enter, send your nominations to me at mwilson@chainstoreage.com. Please include nominee’s name, title, company, phone number or email address, and a short statement (no more than 200 words) as to why the nominee merits recognition as a “Rising Star.” But remember: Only individuals who are under 40 as of Jan. 1, 2013, are eligible for consideration.

mwilson@chainstoreage.com