Millennials go ‘social shopping’: 77 per cent of millennials driven to checkout by social sources

Demandware®, Inc., the industry-leading provider of enterprise cloud commerce solutions, has released global research of 7,000 consumers aged 18-34 years old providing key insights into the purchasing decision of millennials, the most powerful group of customers in tomorrow’s retail environment. The UK survey of 1,000 UK consumers, has revealed the scale of social media’s influence on millennials buying behaviour, with 77 per cent of respondents completing a purchase after seeing a product that someone else has favourited or shared online.

 

In total, 59 per cent of respondents have acted on recommendations seen on Facebook and 41 per cent on those seen on YouTube. This is followed by Twitter (29 per cent), Instagram (25 per cent), WhatsApp (20 per cent), Google+ (15 per cent), Pinterest (14 per cent) and Snapchat (12 per cent). While ‘mainstream’ social media sites remain the most influential tool, Tumblr, Snapchat, and Vine stand out as networks with particular reach among the youngest age group. In total, Tumblr and Vine have influenced purchases in three times as many 16-19s as they have 30-34 year-olds. Snapchat in nearly twice as many.

 

“Every aspect of millennials lives is now documented online. The use of social media and the rise of a selfie culture is changing the way that millennials shop,” explained Sharon Forder, senior director marketing, EMEA at Demandware. “Peer recommendations are now one of the top factors influencing the purchasing journey, which means that this generation places huge weight on what friends and family are doing, using and wearing. In sharp contrast, the influence of the celebrity is dwindling with just 14 per cent of millennials reporting that this is one of their top three influences when it comes to making buying decisions.”

 

This trend looks set to continue growing in the future as the younger the respondent, the more responsive they are likely to be to recommendations. In total, 84 per cent of 16-19 year-olds have acted on recommendations, as have 81 per cent of 20-24 year-olds. This falls to 72 per cent for 25-29 year-olds and 73 per cent for 30-34 year-olds. In some cases, a recommendation is essential to the purchase, particularly for high-value electrical goods (46 per cent), health & beauty products (29 per cent), high-end fashion (23 per cent) or luxury goods (24 per cent). A truly international generation, just 21 per cent of millennials care which country a recommendation comes from.

 

“Clearly, today’s millennials are subject to an incredibly diverse range of influences when it comes to making a buying decision but friends and peers are valued over professional reviewers and celebrities,” continued Sharon Forder at Demandware.  “The next generation of shoppers will be more adept at navigating the vast choices in front of them and adopting those technologies that give them the greatest advantage. Our research shows that retailers will need the agility to market products quicker and at a lower price to achieve growth.”

 

One advantage the high street retains is that it gives consumers instant access to goods and acts as a giant showroom. The top factors influencing the loyalty of millennials are offering the cheapest prices (68 per cent), speed of delivery (61 per cent) and availability of items (49 per cent). Overall, 96 per cent of respondents claim that they still like to visit actual shops on the high street and in shopping centres to touch and feel items before they buy (47 per cent) and try items and test them out (52 per cent). The high street and shopping centre also continue to operate as a social ‘third space’ with 26 per cent saying they like the ‘buzz’ of shopping and 25 per cent liking the social element of shopping. In addition, 35 per cent of consumers are looking for something to do and 43 per cent just want to get out.

 

As part of the global research, Demandware surveyed 7,000 millennials across the UK, US, France, Germany, Nordics, China and Australia. The sample covers people aged 16-34, which is the age range of millennials born between the early 1980s and early 2000s.

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