Most Millennials’ Store Choices Influenced by Print Media

nielsen-advertising-influence-on-millennials-dec11.gifDirect mail (92%) and newspapers (91%) are the media most Millennials say affect their store choices, ahead of digital channels such as visiting a store website using a computer (84%) or receiving emails from retailers (78%), according to [download page] a December 2011 report from Nielsen. Data from “The Evolution of Circulars: From Print to Digital” indicates that when it comes to shopping, Millennials are more tech-savvy than Gen X adults, being more likely to have their store choices influenced by smartphones or mobile phones, social media sites, and retailer emails.

Printed Circulars Lead Overall

Printed circulars (direct mail, newspaper inserts, and in-store) lead the overall shopper popularity contest, with roughly 60% of consumers looking at them once a week. According to Nielsen, the only electronic vehicle demonstrating equivalent reach was retailer email. According to a study released in December 2011 by Epsilon Targeting, when it comes to learning about new products, American consumers also prefer direct mail: almost 3 in 5 report that they enjoy getting postal mail from brands about new products, compared to just 43% who say they enjoy getting emails from brands on new products.

Although high tech circular touchpoints do not enjoy extensive reach, they do see strong weekly usage: Nielsen data shows that social media (45%) and smartphone or mobile phone (39%) weekly use rates outstrip in-store vehicles such as print (38%), kiosk (24%), and TV (21%), with tablet devices also demonstrating healthy weekly usage (35%).

Digital preference rates are also strong when asking shoppers about the future: more than 70% of shoppers expressed a desire for basic digital delivery (store website using computer or retailer email) in the future, and about one-third wanted social media or smartphone applications. Nearly 90% wished to continue receiving paper at home or in-store.

Active Online Presence Critical

According to the report, 18% of internet users would not buy a personal care item without first consulting online, while 17% check online first before purchasing a food item. And although just 20% of store shoppers visit grocery/drug retailer sites, those 1 in 5 consumers who research online first spend approximately 30% more in the store.

Digital Efforts Lack Sophistication

Although most retailers use digital channels such as online circulars (93%), site product filters (81%), shopping lists and recipes (81%), and active Twitter feeds (78%), Nielsen analysis shows that many are not taking advantage of other, more sophisticated approaches. Indeed, only slightly more than 2 in 5 use approaches such as circular email subscription (44%), circular search ads (44%), and circular via Facebook (41%), while just 22% use circular item search ads. According to a Compete study released in June 2011, many online consumers now treat Facebook like a product circular: more than half (56.2%) say they visit the Facebook page of a retailer/consumer product company to keep up to date on sales and promotions, almost double the percentage who give the second-most-popular answer, learning about a specific retailer (29%).

About the Data: Nielsen’s findings are based on an extensive survey among an 11,000-shopper subset of the Nielsen Homescan panel.