STUDY: Millennials Seek Validation About Purchases, but Not Through Advertising

Moosylvania Millennial Purchasing Study

When older generations have sought validation or reassurance that they are making good purchasing and brand-loyalty decisions, advertising has valiantly stepped in to pat them on the back for a job well done or a smart choice made. But when Millennials seek that same approval and reassurance, they don’t look for it from advertising, but from their friends and family members, often through phone calls, texts, and social media channels throughout the purchasing process.

This is the major takeaway revealed by the 2014 Moose Millennial Study Data, conducted by Mooslyvania, which showed that while Millennials identify themselves as very self-confident and independent, they seek constant reassurance from friends and family when it comes to shopping. This is true whether the individuals in this age group shop alone or together — they still remain digitally connected to the people they trust most, seeking advice, guidance and approval via text, phone call and social media.

So, if brands aren’t gaining Millennials’ trust and loyalty through traditional advertising, how are they going about it?

Millennials value marketers that are upfront, transparent, willing to answer questions, and take the time to build trusting relationships with them through context-driven content across multiple platforms — A TV spot or pop-up ad won’t cut it. Brands that successfully commit to these efforts are rewarded — these individuals are happy to tell each other about the brands they love, and, as was just established, this generation holds advice from friends in the highest regard.

In fact, 57 percent of the individuals surveyed said they tell their friends about their purchases and 44 percent “show off” their purchases, even if it’s in subtle ways. Fifty-nine percent use Facebook to talk about products and brands they are proud to support, 57 percent tell friends directly, and 54 percent express their loyalty by shopping in-store.

“For years, advertising served the role of reassurance and endorsement,” said Norty Cohen, founder and CEO of Moosylvania. “That role has changed tremendously. Our job as marketers is to understand how dynamically the connectivity of the next generation of consumer is evolving. For example, forty percent of these Millennials have signed up to receive emails from their favorite brands. Think about that—the average person looks at their phone more than 150 times a day—and email is right in there with social media for this hit of self-assurance.”