BIG, LOUD & CONSUMING: The Ippolito Family and raising GenZ consumer-kids

by Rob Ippolito

The Ippolito Family

Raising a large family has always been a goal and passion for my wife and I…We both come from large families and wanted to live in a loud, crazy household.

Happily married for almost twenty years, my wife and I are parents to four beautiful, talented, challenging, funny, and crazy daughters.  Our daughters are active, social, and like the majority of American teens…shoppers.

We have a 17 year old who appreciates the finer things in life…understands it’s her money that will purchase these treasures and is not afraid to earn. 

A 15 year old who believes a dollar was created to be spent…is a born negotiator and not afraid to ask for a deal. 

An (almost) 13 year old who loves the smell of Nordstrom, but is cost conscience and innately worried we’re spending too much money.

And a 10 year old who has a keen ability to acquire goods while not owning a phone.

As the bread-winner who makes my living in the shopping center world, I’m always trying to better understand where this fluid retail world is headed. I’ve realized my household provides a daily glimpse into today’s retail shopper as well as a possible view into the future of how the next generation may shop. 

I CLIMB OVER BOXES TO GET A HUG

My favorite part of the day has always been coming home…Nothing like walking in the door and being greeted by hugs and a “How was your day Dad?”

Oh how I miss those days. While I’m still met with varying degrees of affection, most days I’m greeted a lovely stack of boxes nestled by the front door.  Online purchases are alive and well at the Ippolito home, and while Amazon is the most common culprit, they are not alone…

>25% of our meals are delivered by PLATED or BLUE APRON (cue the disapproving teenagers), 

>90% of cleaning products are delivered by MELALEUCA (cue the disapproving wife), 

And after careful reflection…100% of online purchases are convenient based.

WE HAVE CHOICES

Amazon deliveries and meal prep convenience are old news…The insight into possible retail trends are found not in “what” we purchase but “how”.

I’ll never fully be able to answer “why” my child makes a purchase…decision-making is a work in progress. But understanding “how” they purchase may provide a glimpse into where retail is headed.

Homecoming is fast approaching for my oldest daughter and of distinct interest is “The Dress”…There may be no more important purchase for a 17 year old senior then the homecoming dress…It is stressful, a priority, and one she will approach with care.  

Daughter #1: “Dad, I need to go look at dresses.”

Dad: “Great kiddo, when are you going to the mall?” 

Daughter #1: “I need to do research first…”

She visited five websites scrolling through countless pages of dresses educating herself first on style and price a distant second. How did she ultimately buy?

“If I have time I’ll probably order online because there are more choices…if not, I will just go the store…then I know it’ll fit…if I can’t find anything…I’ll just borrow one.”

Online…Store…Borrow. One purchase…three viable options.

I’m not sure if the purchasing process has become shorter, longer, better or worse, but fortunately my daughters “consumer knowledge” is high. She has shifted the power of a “priority purchase” from the retailer to the consumer.

WE MAKE OUR OWN MARKET, DAD

While online shopping delivers convenience, retailers use of social media platforms to push their brand has increased significantly.

Depop is a social shopping platform and the fashion marketplace for GenZ. Over 80% of Depop users are under 25 years old and have made over $570 million in over 19 million transactions since the launch in 2011. | photo credit: forbes.com

“Screen Time” is a daily battle with our girls…Yes we limit the amount of time, where, and what they view…we fully know 100% of their screen time is on some form of social media…

Instagram, Snapchat (not allowed), Facebook, TicTok and many more are the platforms influencing our youth…no doubt about it. Whether it be through influencers or direct marketing, they have placed a big target on the next generation.

This past week my fifteen year old was modeling her new pair of pants…She was very excited…asking my wife what she thought.

Daughter #2: “Mom, what do you think?”

Mom: “Those look good honey…they fit great”

Daughter #2: “Right?!?…they feel good.”

Dad: “New pants?  When did we go shopping? Those look expensive.”

Daughter #2: “You didn’t buy them…I did.”

Dad: “Where?”

Daughter #2: “From my friend Ceci…”

Dad: “Huh”

Daughter #2: “She posted on Insta…I paid $5…they’re $50 in the store…we do it all the time.”

When asked how often they transact with their friends she quickly responded with “three to four times a month…at least”.

Leave it to our youth to leverage the platforms influencing them to their own advantage by creating their own “Marketplace”…A place they can buy, sell, and trade clothes, makeup, or whatever at prices they determine and can afford.

This is called ingenuity…

This is called hustle…

This is called thrifty…

This is called influence.

Rob Ippolito | LinkedIn

Rob Ippolito is a Senior Managing Director at Newmark Knight Frank in San Diego, California. He has over 21 years of retail real estate experience and provides landlords with guidance on identifying and implementing the correct long-term plans for their assets. Rob graduated from the University of Arizona and played baseball with the Seattle Mariners organization for three seasons. Rob can be found coaching, inspiring and encouraging those around him whether at home with his family, on the baseball field or at the office.