Millennials: How Important is Brand Loyalty?

Written by: Becca Paskerian

Online shopping, mobile apps, and mobile payment gateways make purchasing anything a phone tap away. It’s easier than ever to search for different brands and products to find exactly what you need.

Who is the group driving this online purchasing trend? Millennials of course.

This group of younger consumers “proves to be, by far, the most technologically engaged generation (compared to Generation X or Boomers).” According to Forbes, nearly 90% of Millennials are actively using two to three devices a day, and roughly half are using social media or other internet-based tools to interact with their networks or influence buying decisions.

Millennials have also proven themselves as the most loyal generation to their favorite brands. Just over half say they are extremely loyal or quite loyal to their favorite brands, according to Forbes.

This comes across as particularly shocking because there are endless options for them to choose from. The internet holds thousands of options for each single product. You would think that loyalties would lie in the best deal, the lowest price, or whatever is trending at the moment. So what drives Millennials to be such loyal shoppers? Social proof, or the natural inclination humans have to look toward those around them to help them make decisions.

Millennials take to social media to see what their friends are doing or purchasing or to see what products celebrities are recommending. Being a Millennial myself, I know I’m more likely to trust a brand and stick with them if my friends are purchasing their products as well. Seeing a celebrity endorse a product (without a paid sponsorship) is also likely to pique my interest in the brand. It’s more comforting to get an honest review from a friend or someone you follow, than a stranger on a product website.

Chrissy Teigen is a prime example of a celebrity who is always promoting her favorite food brands, tv shows, music, clothes, the list goes on. She regularly recommends products that she loves and believes in to her fans and friends. She is a trusted resource for many, especially users in their twenties and early thirties.

Celebrities and friends are the most trusted referral, but with online shopping on the rise, some brands have really stood out.

It is no surprise that Amazon, Google, and Apple all lead the pack in terms of overall brand loyalty this past year. One common thread between each of these powerhouse brands is that they all prioritize innovation and personalization.

These two traits are becoming increasingly more important to users and shoppers under 40. There are more options now than ever before and consumers want to know that they are getting the absolute best product from a brand who has continued to deliver on its promises. This brings up the importance of paid sponsorships from trusted sources.

Touching on the point of “paid sponsorships,” research has concluded that authenticity sells, and ads don’t. Elite Daily found that only 1% of Millennials say they are influenced in any way by advertising. This means that what the brand is pushing out about itself and its products bare no importance to this generation. Again, in my own millennial experience, a randomized ad isn’t going to drive me to the point of purchasing. I need more context and familiarity before I’m willing to spend my money on something.

Millennials are much more easily influenced by Micro-Influencers than by a generic Instagram ad. It is common now for Millennials and Gen Zers to follow Influencers of all kinds on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media sites. Really great Influencers make their followers feel like their friends. This bond allows them to *cough cough* — influence what their followers like and purchase. Hallie Wilson is a great example of an Influencer who has built up a loyal following of over 50k people and uses that status to partner with brands to sell products she believes in. Below is an Instagram post where she partnered with Crispin Ciders to promote their Rose Cider. She received really positive feedback in her comments section and brought massive awareness to the product.

Final Thoughts

What will drive this generation to purchase? Authenticity and honesty go a long way. Millennials want quality experiences every time they interact with a brand. They want real-time, direct conversations instead of automated responses. They want to interact with brands that have humanized themselves, and not only offer a great product, but are aware of social issues and what’s going on in the world.

When brands succeed in being authentic and are placed within Millennials’ inner circle, they will find loyal customers.

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