Millennial Generation Purchase Decisions Strongly Influenced By Peer Recommendations on Social Media

A survey by cloud commerce software company Demandwar has found that more than three quarters of 18 and 34 year old UK consumers are more likely to buy a product if they have seen it shared, liked or favoured on social media platforms.

This means that peer recommendations now have a major influence on the purchasing choices that members of the Millennial generation make.

The Most Influential Social Media Sites

The survey showed that most influential websites for Millennial purchasing decisions were at 59%, followed by YouTube at 41%. The 16 to 19 year-old age group were also shown to be particularly influenced by sites like Tumblr and Vine.

The Bricks and Mortar Shopping Experience

One thing that the millennial generation has in common with other generations is a preference for trying something before they buy it. This means that although their purchase choices are heavily influenced by their peers on social media, taking the final step to buying depends on their own physical experience of the product. The Demandwar survey results were consistent with this as 96% of the millennials surveyed said they prefer to visit brick and mortar locations when buying.

Trying the product however is not the only motivator for millennials to visit a bricks and mortar location. 26% of those surveyed said they enjoy the buzz of shopping, and this is likely to be because social interaction is an important aspect of the behaviour of younger people.

Driven by Value, Speed and Availability

The survey results showed that 68% of Millennials are driven by value, 61% are driven by delivery speeds and 49% driven by availability. The Millennials in this survey were also shown to align themselves with brands with the cheapest prices.

What Does This Mean For Business?

Understanding the unique and changing shopping behaviour among Millennials therefore appears to be a very important factor for businesses hoping to sell to them.

These survey results (based on 7000 respondents, 1000 of them being from the UK) clearly show that the younger an audience, the greater the chance of it acting on recommendations for purchasing. This trend, which is set to increase, appears to be a way for young people to navigate through a diverse range of influences.

The recommendations of friends and family also appear to be more valued and trusted than those of reviewers or celebrities. Younger audiences are also known to use smartphones and now increasingly tablets for their online activity and Millennials are known to shop and spend more online than other age groups.

For a business to successfully market to this group, some of the important things to consider therefore include:

  • The need for agility in retail to market products very quickly and at a lower price than competing products.

  • The need to get the product in front of Millennials and their influencers across multiple social media platforms.

  • Showing members of these generations experiencing, using and commenting about a product or service e.g. in YouTube videos may be more important than relying on other endorsements such as those of celebrities.

  • Shopping centres will need to be changed more into platforms for experiences rather than just places for making purchases.