Changing the Face of Modern Consumerism: New Mom Central Consulting Research Reveals Surprising Insights on Millennial Consumers’ Path to Purchase

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97% Trust E-Commerce Sites; 59% Not on Instagram; Mom Central Consulting Announces Millennial Central Division

We need to fully understand how they think, communicate, work, connect, and engage, and this study offers us the meaningful tools and insights necessary to gain new perspectives into the Millennial demographic.

Millennials – the group of young, up-and-coming Americans in their post-college 20s to early-30s – now represent the next rising generation, rapidly increasing in consumer power and influence.

Yet despite this, Millennials also remain among the most misunderstood consumer sectors. Do their ongoing parental bonds demonstrate a lack of independence – or simply strong family ties? Does their fluency with technology impact their trust of online consumer sources – or do offline, personal recommendations still matter? What most directly drives their path to purchase?

To gain more in-depth insight into Millennials, Mom Central Consulting embarked on a groundbreaking study of 1,100 American Millennial Women. The study focused on their purchase path both online and offline, how their deep connections with family and friends impact the choices in their lives, the effect of various types of media on this generation's day-to-day decisions, and how the ability to share and crowdsource online in visual and instantaneous ways shapes their perspectives of brands, media, and relationships.

“As Millennials rise in influence, we recognize the need to develop a better understanding of this consumer sector,” said Stacy DeBroff, CEO of Mom Central Consulting. “We need to fully understand how they think, communicate, work, connect, and engage, and this study offers us the meaningful tools and insights necessary to gain new perspectives into the Millennial demographic.”

“As brands started reaching out to us to identify Millennial influencers, we began working in-depth with this demographic as brand advocates,” said Megan Maguire, director of Mom Central Consulting’s new Millennial Central division. “This insight led to our team launching a specialized division devoted to Millennial influencers and sparked our research study to gain an even deeper understanding of this generation.”

The research study’s top-line findings include the following:

Intrepid Explorers: Clustered by Personality Attributes

  •     Exploration & Independence

Millennials consider themselves intrepid explorers. While they’ll share personalized stories on social media, they are not on a personal quest to secure readers, followers, or likes. Only 5% use social media as a platform to establish themselves as an “expert.”

  •     Millennials Swim in Transparency – With Some Caution

Social media makes everything in this generation’s life transparent, and Millennials embrace this – yet they do demonstrate some caution in online sharing. More than 65% place no limits on photos, and 55% have no privacy limits on profile visibility. Yet, 50% now think twice before posting a status update or tweet.

Sharing & Communicating

  •     Closely Connected to Their Parents

As this Millennial generation grew up with strong family ties, it’s not surprising that they remain closely connected to their parents. Nearly 90% of Millennials talk to their parents once a week or more, and 50% speak with them every day.

  •     Facebook Still Rules as Social Platform of Choice

While new social media platforms emerge, Millennials continue to use Facebook more than any other. More than 90% of Millennials have a Facebook account, with 42% logging in daily. Surprisingly, nearly 60% have yet to create an Instagram account.

Transforming Traditional Consumerism

  •     Purchases Become Transformational Experiences

Millennials’ focused consumerism gives each material purchase a weight and a story. In this context, products become transformed into personal experiences, as 59% of Millennials make product recommendations to share highly positive or negative experiences.

  •     Consumerism Becomes Social

Because of their penchant for sharing information, every purchase involves touching base with their core group. Yet Millennials hold strongly onto their ownership of personal choice – 1 in 2 say that reading a bad review online about a business wouldn’t stop them from shopping/visiting.

Influences Along the Path to Purchase

  •     Millennial Purchase Path Stands in Stark Contrast to Previous Generations

While Boomers and Gen X women follow a highly linear purchasing journey, Millennials take a much more circuitous path. They see an ad on TV, search online for additional information, compare their top three choices based on online reviews and recommendations, chat with friends who may have the same product, go to the store to compare pricing, and then choose a product.

  •     Friends & Peers Reign Supreme

Peers, friends, and co-workers act as the key set of influencers for Millennials, with peer-to-peer networks dominating their life choices. For example, when making technology purchases (computer, cellphone, tablet, etc), Millennials rely most on their friend’s advice (66%), over their spouse’s/significant other’s advice (59%), or parent’s advice (37%).

  •     In-Person Recommendations Carry the Strongest Weight

Millennials want to follow-up on recommendations by hearing about them personally from the person doing the recommending. Thus, in-person word-of-mouth recommendations prove most influential in all purchasing categories for Millennials:

  •     Food/beverage (68%)
  •     Vacations (67%)
  •     Household products (63%)

Millennials – New Categories Needed to Define This Influential Generation
“One of the most revealing aspects of this study is how Millennials differ from other consumer groups,” DeBroff said. “It echoes the differences we’ve already seen in our Millennial Central influencer marketing campaigns – ranging from how they view product recommendations to their attitudes toward online trust.”

“This study really demonstrates the strong need for brands to develop a greater understanding of this generation’s consumer, social media, and communications preferences,” Maguire said. “In particular, non-Mom Millennials have significant discretionary income levels, and we expect to see them only rise in influence in the coming years.”

For more information or to obtain a copy of the full research findings, contact Stacy DeBroff at stacy(at)momcentral(dot)com.

About the Study
Mom Central Consulting recently surveyed 1,100 American women without children who were born between the years of 1979 and 1993 via an email invitation and an online survey. The extensive study was conducted, programmed, and analyzed by Mom Central Consulting’s Consumer Insights Group, headed by Tracey Hope-Ross.

About Millennial Central®
Millennial Central, a division of Mom Central Consulting, specializes in reaching the influential female Millennial market. Leveraging a deep understanding of this emerging demographic, Millennial Central has worked with national consumer brands, building advocacy through powerful first-person word-of-mouth programs. Capabilities span strategic counsel, blogger engagements, visual influencer campaigns, social media activations, in-market events and research – all targeting Millennial influencers.

About Mom Central Consulting
Mom Central Consulting, the leading social media consulting firm focused on the Mom Market, works with over 200 brands each year to develop powerful influencer marketing programs targeted to Moms. With offices in Boston, Chicago, New York, and Toronto, Canada, Mom Central Consulting delivers cutting-edge social media and digital campaigns – engaging influencers as passionate brand advocates – to achieve focused marketing results. Our robust Mom Central Testing Panel garners real-world insights throughout the Mom Marketplace, which informs our ROI-driven campaigns. For the past three years, Inc. magazine has named Mom Central Consulting to its annual Inc. 500|5000 list of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies.

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