Millennials Trust People, Not Brands, When Buying

Millennials-graphicMarketers that are trying to connect with millennials ages 18 to 34 to promote products and services related to love and Valentine's Day might want to consider tapping social influencers who produce user-generated content (UGC). This generation trusts people rather than brands, and values the opinions of like-minded strangers as much as people they know, according to a new study scheduled for release Monday titled "Talking to Strangers."

Strangers appear to have the most influence when it comes to making a purchase. About 51% of millennials are more likely influenced by UGC produced and posted by strangers, compared with recommendations from friends, family and colleagues, but only 34% of boomers agree.

In fact, 84% of millennials report that UGC from strangers has some influence on what they buy. That's because 65% of millennials believe UGC offers a more honest and genuine view online, and 86% believe the content represents a good indicator of the quality of a brand, service or products.

Millennials question the motives of companies that collect customer opinions. The study finds 71% of millennials say companies care about customer opinions simply because they impact how other consumers will view the brand, rather than truly caring what their customers think.

Seventy-three percent of millennials believe other consumers care more about their opinions than companies do; that's why they continue to share their opinions online. They view companies that include customer feedback on their Web sites as honest, at 66%, and credible, at 53%.

Millennials won't complete top purchases without UGC -- big-ticket items like major electronics, 44%, and cars, 40%, as well as hotel stays, 39%, insurance policies, 30%, and travel to specific destinations, 32%.

The millennial generation relies heavily on input from social media. About 80% use Facebook; 49%, YouTube; 18%, Twitter; and 25%, Google+. This suggests they are more likely to share both positive and negative experiences with brands via social channels -- 42% and 32%, respectively -- than by emailing their friends or calling the company.

The "Talking to Strangers" Survey, released by Bazaarvoice in partnership with The Center for Generational Kinetics and Kelton Research, aggregated findings from 1,013 participants ages 18 and over by Kelton Research between Aug. 25 and Sept. 5, 2011.

4 comments about "Millennials Trust People, Not Brands, When Buying".
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  1. Doug Shingleton from Doug Shingleton, January 30, 2012 at 8:03 a.m.

    why would you create a graphic for this article that has so much data information, and the make it unreadable in the size it has been formatted. Furthermore, the half the data in the graphic is not in the story....

  2. David Bohnsack from GMR Marketing, January 30, 2012 at 9:28 a.m.

    You can find that graphic here:


  3. Grant Crowell from, January 30, 2012 at 10:01 a.m.

    I'm interested to learn if there are any studies on how millennials are influenced more by user-generated videos than brand videos. Any case studies involving a survey, or actual conversion data? I think it's fair to discuss if some kinds of media are more influential than others, yes?

  4. Doug Garnett from Protonik, LLC, January 30, 2012 at 4:55 p.m.

    Actually, this looks like pretty silly research - probably designed to find a result they can use to show "in touch" they are with milleniels.

    Except, they didn't find anything - and their subtleties about trusting strangers are probably false readings (they don't add up). So I'd recommend extreme skepticism with this study.

    The give away are broad statements like "Millenials won't complete big purchases without UGC". There is no such thing as UGC - rather there are opinions posted on the web. So this suggests they read opinions posted on the web. In which case, this is nothing new over 50 years ages - except instead of "asking around" about a purchase now they "browse around" about it. And for those opinions to be the type that drive business, there's nothing a company can do to help the process.

    In other words, should anyone care about this study? Not as far as I can see.

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