In retail business, the concept of convenience used to mean providing a product or a service within a reasonable walk or drive, perhaps on the way home from work or in a town nearby. Traditionally, companies bundle similar products and services within well-defined boundaries and structures, which are easy for them to manage. Whether it is a retailer, bank, insurer, private hospital or a telecommunications provider, you will find similar rigid structures trying to target individual consumers and businesses by separating them into different groups. This grouping, which may provide convenience to the service provider, adds little or no value to the individual or the business.

Now a new generation of influencers has come on the scene. These new kids on the block, commonly known as Generation Z customers or simply Gen Z, are responsible for turning this established business model upside down. The acronym Gen Z refers to the people who are roughly born between the years 1995 and 2010. They are, in every sense of the word, true digital natives where they live, work and consume differently. Almost from birth, they have been living with exposure to the Internet, social networks and mobile devices. Today, these customers play by a different set of expectations and rules. Driven by technology and an on-demand culture, younger generations of consumers have grown up with products and services that are available at the push of a button, anytime and anywhere. True convenience for these digital natives means that the products and services are available to come to them at a time they prefer. While every industry is scrambling to realign its approach to address this new generation, many retailers are missing a crucial insight: Gen Z is looking for ultimate convenience and the existing rigid product and service verticals are failing to provide them with that.

In a regional market research conducted by Rakuten Insight, the consumer market research giant from Japan in partnership with Tofugear, surveyed nearly 6,000 consumers across 12 markets in Asia. This survey was to carry out a comprehensive analysis of the shopping habits of today’s connected consumer whether it be online, in stores or through online marketplaces. The survey found that while 61% of all users use their mobile phones at least 4 hours a day, almost 25% of Gen Z use their mobile phones more than 8 hours a day. A whopping 75% of Gen Z wants to use Mobile payments while a 40% already makes purchases on their mobile phone at least once a week. Gen Z members cannot remember a world in which the Internet was not constantly available to them. These kids can sniff out insincere messages in seconds and will take the time to meet them and create meaningful conversations. Confirming the above, survey found that 55% of the Gen Z users have made a purchase because of content shared by an influencer. Their preference for online shopping was clear, as 60% of the users tend to be loyal to brands that offer free shipping. Statistics show that Gen Z would represent 40 percent of all consumers by 2020, which puts Asia’s traditional retailers in a dilemma as to how they are going to address this new generation effectively.