Social media exert influence on millennials' shopping habits

Consumers aged 18 to 34 are more likely to buy items based on what they see on social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube

Consumers of the millenial generation are more likely to buy goods they see on social media websites, research has found.

Cloud commerce software provider Demandware conducted a survey that found 77% of consumers between the ages of 18 and 34 in the UK are more likely to buy a product if they have seen it shared, “liked” or “favourited” on social media platforms.

Facebook came in as the most influential social media website, with 59% of millennials claiming to purchase items they had seen on the site. YouTube came in second, at 41%.

“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, Emea senior director marketing at Demandware.

“Peer recommendations are now one of the top factors influencing the purchasing journey – which means this generation places huge weight on what friends and family are doing, using and wearing.”

Some of the less used social media platforms – such as Tumblr and Vine – also make a difference to millennial purchasing decisions, although they are more like to influence the younger audience, with three times as many 16- to 19-year-olds making purchasing decisions influenced by these platforms than 30 to 34-year-olds.

As with many consumers, 96% of millennials prefer to visit brick and mortar locations when buying, particularly items they want to test.

But this does not mean they’ll buy it in the shop, with many getting a feel for a product in a shop before buying it online.

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The future of shopping centres

A quarter of the age group said they like the social interaction when shopping in a physical location, and 26% said they like the “buzz” of shopping.

Westfield’s co-CEO Steven Lowy recently predicted this trend would continue, claiming shopping centres will soon turn in to “platforms for experiences” as opposed to solely a place for making purchases.

Millennials usually align with brands with the cheapest prices, with 68% of millennial loyalty driven by value, 61% driven by delivery speeds and 49% driven by availability.

The need for product availability and convenience has been increasingly important for retailers over the last few years as customer loyalty has become influenced by knowing what products a brand has, and how quickly and conveniently they can get their hands on what they want.

“The next generation of shoppers will be more adept at navigating the vast choices in front of them and adopting the 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,” Forder said.



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