Consumers across generations are most likely to use online product reviews to research a consumer goods product or brand before buying, according to a Salesforce Research report [pdf]. Based on a survey of more than 2,000 US adults, the study shows that online reviews and word-of-mouth are considerably more influential to the research process for Millennials than for older adults.
That finding is supported by various other pieces of research:
In sum, the body of research suggests that Millennials are heavily impacted by the views of friends and family. However, user-generated content – also long associated with Millennials – is perhaps even more influential. In fact, Millennial respondents in the Salesforce study trust online reviewers (40%) most to provide accurate information about consumer goods products, considerably ahead of friends/family/colleagues (24%). This also brings to mind research from several years ago, in which Bazaarvoice data indicated that Millennials entrust their purchase decisions to user-generated content more so than to friends and family.
Millennials’ reliance on word-of-mouth and reviews suggests that positive and negative buzz can have a multiplier effect for brands. On a somewhat encouraging note, more respondents reported having praised a brand publicly (40%) than complained about one publicly (27%), with this true also for 18-34-year-olds (49% and 33%, respectively).
Among those who had praised a brand, the most common outlets for doing so were:
Respondents who had complained about a brand publicly also were most apt to have done so in person to others (66%). But while in-store or complaints or those over email were the next-most common among Gen Xers (35-54) and Baby Boomers (55+), personal online channels were the second choice for Millennials.
The Salesforce research reveals several other interesting findings:
About the Data: The survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Poll on behalf of Salesforce, May 9-11, 2016, among 2,095 adults, ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.
Topics: Boomers & Older, Brand Loyalty & Purchase Habits, CPG & FMCG, Customer Service & Experience, Email, Food & Restaurants, Personalization, Promotions, Coupons & Co-op, Retail & E-Commerce, Social Media, Traditional, Word of Mouth, Youth & Gen X
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