Millennials Are Brand Loyal, But Product Quality Is Key

Fruit is good, strawberries are bad. Whole wheat has fiber, but then wheat is contra-paleo and therefore evil. Coffee causes heart disease but prevents cancer. Same drill, it seems, in market research, where there is a regular, reliable river of contrary data on how Millennials spend their time on digital media. 

While last week's report from Nielsen found implicit value in TV ads for Millennials, a new report from Millennial branding firm Elite Daily says digital and social is what counts. A third of those surveyed chose blogs as their top pre-purchase media source. 

The firm polled 1,300 Millennials last October from its database of readers. Fewer than 3% rank TV news, magazines and books as influencing their purchases. Only 1% said that a compelling advertisement would make them trust a brand more. They said they don't trust traditional media and advertising and are looking for the opinions from their  friends (37%), parents (36%) and online experts (17%) before making a purchase.



Millennials polled also said they want brands to converse with them on social media, but they also expect to be part of brands' product development teams. Sixty-two percent said if a brand engages with them on social networks, they are more likely to become a loyal customer. Facebook is by far the favored channel, with 43% saying Facebook is the social network that most influences their spending habits, followed by Instagram (22%) and Pinterest (12%). Forty-two percent of respondents said they are interested in helping companies develop future products and services.

Also, over half of 18-to-33 year olds said that before purchasing from a brand, they expect that brand to publish content online. They rank authenticity (43%) as more important than the content itself (32%) when consuming news. 

And while brands are pitching Millennials, they might note that 20-somethings aren't flush. Seventy-seven of them said that the bad economy — bad for them, anyway — has put a serious hit on their ability to save and spend. What a third of them are doing is paying off student loans, both with the jobs they have and with the loans they are getting from their parents. 

But the survey respondents also offered some healthy news for the auto business: most said they would rather buy than lease a car. Nearly 75% said they would rather buy than rent a car, and 43% said they are planning on buying a car in the next five years. 

While studies have, for years, talked about brand disloyalty among younger buyers (and some have gone the other way) Elite Daily's study takes the latter view, saying 60% of those polled are loyal to brands that they currently purchase. About half said the quality of the product is the most important attribute they check for before they decide what to purchase. Only 21% said price is key, and 39% said product quality is what compels them to share props about the purchase on social. A third cited customer experience.

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