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SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Kevin Jackson, Peter Silva

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Market Strategies Study: Millennial shoppers trust social media more but diversify beyond Facebook

Millennial shoppers (born 1982 or later) are increasingly looking beyond Facebook and turning to other social media channels when making purchase decisions or sharing their thoughts on a brand, according to Marketing to Millennials, a significant research study from the Consumer & Retail group at Market Strategies International. Millennials are almost three times as likely as other generations to use social media as a pre-purchase research tool, so understanding exactly how and where Millennials do their research has enormous implications for brand marketers.

While other generations tend to stick with Facebook for most of their social media activities, Millennials are significantly more likely to turn to specific social media platforms for unique purposes. For instance, Millennials are much more likely than other generations to use YouTube for learning about products, Twitter for expressing opinions about them and Instagram for posting photos about the products.

Millennials also turn to friends, family and comments on social media for information when shopping for products or services, viewing social media comments as “more transparent” and blogs as “usually more objective.” Approximately three-quarters of Millennials trust family and friends most when researching products or services because “friends and family don’t have an agenda and aren’t trying to sell me something.”

“What we’ve learned in this study can inform traditional marketing tactics in a significant way,” said Paul Donagher, managing director of the Consumer & Retail group at Market Strategies. “We can start to crack part of the Millennial code now that we understand their use of and trust in certain platforms.

“Millennials are more engaged, more vocal and more visual. They’re not merely passive readers—they post, pin, view and blog. And, they’re willing to experiment and go onto the next innovation in social media.”

Donagher added, “Savvy brand marketers will involve Millennials sooner and more often in the various stages of marketing development and will continue to explore and use the social media tools that are most relevant to Millennials. We suggest using this study to help guide the next steps that brand and category managers will be taking in their continued need to understand this generation.”

About the Study

Market Strategies interviewed a national sample of 2,011 consumers aged 18 or older from February 5 to February 11, 2014. Respondents were recruited from the United Sample, Inc. (uSamp) opt-in online panel of US adults and were interviewed online. The data were weighted by age, gender and census region to match the demographics of the US population. Due to its opt-in nature, this online panel (like most others) does not yield a random probability sample of the target population. As such, it is not possible to compute a margin of error or to statistically quantify the accuracy of projections. Market Strategies will supply the exact wording of any survey question upon request.

About Market Strategies International

Market Strategies International is a global market research firm with deep expertise in consumer/retail, energy, financial services, healthcare, technology and telecommunications. The Consumer & Retail group works with some of the largest global brands across diverse industries, including food and beverage, retail, health and beauty and OTC drugs.

Offering custom research services and syndicated research products, Market Strategies provides insight from more than 75 countries, focused in the areas of brand, communications, CX, product development and segmentation. Since Market Strategies was founded in 1989, it has become one of the largest market research firms in the world, with offices in the US, Canada and China. Read Market Strategies’ blog at FreshMR, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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