Amazon and Google continue to duke it out as top sources of inspiration for Millennials’ product and brand purchases, according to Roth MKM’s 2023 Millennial Survey. The 2,500 American Millennials (ages 22-42) surveyed for the report put Amazon at the top of the list when asked the most important places they look for ideas on products or brands to buy, but Google and old-fashioned word-of-mouth are right on its heels.

Some 39.5% of respondents pointed to Amazon as one of their most important sources of inspiration, just ahead of Google (38.1%), with friends and family sandwiched in between (39%). The previous iteration of the survey, released in 2021, had Google (40.6%) just ahead of Amazon (39.9%) and friends and family (39.4%).

Separate research has found a wider lead for Amazon over search engines and social media for shopping inspiration, though that survey was carried out among the broader US online shopping population.

As for social media, YouTube leads the pack as a place that Millennials look for ideas on products and brands to buy, cited by almost 3 in 10 (29.3% of) respondents as an important destination. Following YouTube is TikTok (24.3%), which is one of the standouts for growth since the 2021 survey, when it was cited by about half as many respondents (11.2%). TikTok is especially popular with Gen Zers; separate research from The Harris Poll and Yahoo! Finance shows that “TikTok is the new Google” for this generation.

Meanwhile, TV sits further back as a source of shopping inspiration (11.7%), ahead of only digital influencers (6.3%) among the options shown.

Notably, when asked where are the least important places they look for ideas on products or brands to buy, Millennials pointed to celebrities (32.7%) to a considerably greater degree than other destinations. Snapchat (26.4%) and magazines (26%) are also considered less important. Curiously, TikTok (24.7%) is next on the list, suggesting that there’s quite a split in opinions about the platform for shopping inspiration. Rounding out the top 5 least important sources of shopping inspiration are digital influencers (24.4%).

Where Does Brand Matter Most?

The survey also delved into categories where brand has an impact. In this case there’s a clear standout: Cars. Almost half (47.6%) of the respondents cited Cars as a category in which brand names matter the most, far ahead of the next-most cited areas, Appliances (38.8%) and Consumer Electronics (37.3%). Perhaps Auto brands should rethink their declining ad spend

Cars are also the category in which Millennials most prefer premium over value, though they’re less clearcut in these preferences. About 3 in 10 (29.8%) indicated that they prefer premium over value for Cars, just ahead of Luxury Apparel and Accessories (27.3%) and Consumer Electronics (27.2%).

By contrast, fewer prefer premium over value in areas such as Entertainment & Media (18.4%) and Travel (16.6%).

As for sustainable, eco-friendly or green products, Groceries (33%) emerge as the top area for which Millennials would pay a premium for such products, with Cars (21.8%) and Cosmetics (21.7%) trailing. There’s not as much interest in paying for sustainability in Travel (12.6%) or Consumer Electronics (12.6%).

Finally, almost half (46.3%) would pay a premium of at least 10% for socially responsible brands, while a similar share (44.2%) would pay that much premium for a product “Made in the USA.”

About the Data: The results are based on a November 2022 survey of 2,500 Americans between the ages of 22 and 42.


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