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Millennials Heavily Influence Electronics Purchases, CEA Study Finds

Millennials – a generation of consumers currently between the ages of 13 and 31– are not only heavy consumers of electronics products, they also exert considerable influence on others when it comes to buying consumer electronics (CE) devices, according to a new study released today by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®. The study, Millennials: The New Face of Retail, examined how Millennials learn and research CE devices, where and why they purchase CE and their influence on others in purchasing CE.

The study defines Millennials as anyone born between 1981 and 1999, with Youth Millennials born between 1995 and 1999 (ages 13-17) and Adult Millennials born between 1981 and 1994 (ages 18-31). The study compared Millennials to three other generations: the Silent Generation (1928-1945), Baby Boomers (1946-1964) and Generation X (1965-1980).

Among the generations, Millennials have the highest intent to purchase CE devices, with 75 percent planning to purchase CE products in the next 12 months, compared to 67 percent among Generation X, 55 percent among Baby Boomers and 49 percent among the Silent Generation. While income constrained Youth Millennials do not spend as much money on CE devices as Adult Millennials, they do heavily influence their friends’ and family members’ CE purchases, thereby influencing overall purchasing trends. Among Youth Millennials, more than half (60 percent) say they have some influence on their parents’ CE purchases, and 41 percent give advice to friends and/or parents on the CE products they should purchase. Among Adult Millennials, 33 percent give advice to friends and/or parents on the CE products they should purchase.

Overall, Millennials not only influence what CE devices and accessories others purchase but where others buy CE products. Of the generation, 32 percent of Youth Millennials and 28 percent of Adult Millennials say they give advice to friends and/or family on where to shop for CE devices. Despite their heavy use of social media and the Internet, Millennials still rely on brick-and-mortar retail stores for CE purchases. Two in five Millennials (42 percent) usually visit a store prior to purchasing a CE product and half of Millennials believe it is important to touch and feel a product (55 percent) or play with or use a product (49 percent) before purchasing. When Millennials visit a retail store prior to purchasing their CE device, they usually interact with a physical product in some capacity, either by looking at the product (51 percent), playing with or using the product (52 percent), looking at the product packaging (38 percent) or getting a demonstration (30 percent).

“The Millennial generation is a crucial audience for electronics manufacturers and retailers. Millennials not only seek electronics at a high rate for themselves, they also exert a great deal of influence on the CE purchases of others in their circles,” said Rhonda Daniel, manager of market research for CEA. “While some consumers within the Millennial generation, specifically the Youth Millennials, do not have the disposable income of their older cohorts, we expect they will continue to invest in CE products and services as they age and their levels of income rise.”

While the Internet is the most commonly used resource to learn about CE products across all generations, the study found that Millennials rely just as much on their friends to learn about CE devices as they do the Internet. When researching products, Millennials are more likely than other generations to ask people they know about products before purchasing. Millennials are also more than twice as likely as non-Millennials to use blogs (12 percent versus five percent) and social networking sites (18 percent versus seven percent) to learn about the latest CE products.

The Millennials: the New Face of Retail study was conducted in September 2012. It was designed and formulated by CEA Market Research, the most comprehensive source of sales data, forecasts, consumer research and historical trends for the consumer electronics industry. Please cite any information to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®. The complete report is available free to CEA member companies at members.CE.org. Non-members may purchase the study for $999 at myCEA.CE.org. *All generations are defined by the age at which the respondents were when the survey was fielded in late 2012.

About CEA:

The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is the preeminent trade association promoting growth in the $209 billion U.S. consumer electronics industry. More than 2,000 companies enjoy the benefits of CEA membership, including legislative advocacy, market research, technical training and education, industry promotion, standards development and the fostering of business and strategic relationships. CEA also owns and produces the International CES – The Global Stage for Innovation. All profits from CES are reinvested into CEA’s industry services. Find CEA online at www.CE.org, www.DeclareInnovation.com and through social media: https://www.facebook.com/#!/CEAfeed, http://twitter.com/ceafeed, http://blog.ce.org/.

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