Gen Y Is Just A Different Kind of Brand Loyal

Millennials may be famously fickle when it comes to brands, but a new study finds that they actually see themselves as loyalists. They just define that differently than either their Gen X siblings or Baby Boomer parents. And while TV matters, social continues to  be the media that means the most to them, with mobile having less clout than many marketers might imagine.

The research, from Adroit Digital, found that 24% even feel more brand loyal. And while 20% use most of the same brands as their parents, and 43% use many of the same brands, a total of 77% say they use a different set of criteria in selecting brands to which they’ll be loyal.

“They are looking for something a little different than their parents,” Glenn Humble, Adroit’s director of marketing, tells Marketing Daily. “They use different criteria.”

He says a critical difference is that Gen Y has much higher expectations about how a brand should behave. “They are really leaning into corporate conscience. They expect brands to be eco-friendly, to care more about the planet. And they expect them to be willing to change, based on our opinions and feedback.”

The research -- based on 2,000 American Millennials ages 18 to 33, who all owned both a computer and a smartphone -- finds that money is the biggest reason for them to switch loyalties, with 56% saying they’d change brands if they experienced a change in their finances, and 41% saying they’d do so if their brand increased in price. A friend’s recommendation would change preferences for 38%. But the next major reason, says Humble, “is basically when something newer and shinier comes along,” with 37% saying they’d switch in that case.

About 52% say that for brands to maintain relevance, they have to be willing to change based on consumer opinion, and 44% expect brands to have open dialogue through social channels.

They are most likely to be loyal to their cell phone providers (59%), followed by fashion, with 56% saying they are devoted to clothing, shoes and accessories. By category, hotels and airlines fared worst, with 16% and 25% respectively.

While TV still carries the most clout, with 70% saying it shapes how they see a brand and its value, 60% say social exerts that influence. Online display had 42%, online video 39%, and mobile just 33%. (But a larger percentage, 39%, feel that brands require a mobile presence in order to be modern.) Only 31% felt magazines had an impact, with radio and billboards influencing just 21%.

"Person using smartphone" photo from Shutterstock.

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1 comment about "Gen Y Is Just A Different Kind of Brand Loyal".
  1. Andrew Villeneuve from Mullen , March 18, 2014 at 10:57 p.m.
    As a member of Gen Y, this really rings true for me. Holistic brand personality is what resonates with my generational cohort.