Millennials are buying luxury goods, but their research and purchasing patterns are different than previous generations. Research firm Deloitte looked at global luxury brand discovery processes among Millennial buyers, and found social media was the top choice for brand discovery and research. This reflects what we’ve seen, especially on Instagram and Pinterest, where luxury brands consistently outperform their mass market competition. Fashion and brand websites, as well as print fashion magazines, are among the other top discovery methods.
2/3rds of the Buyer’s Journey Happens in Digital Spaces
Millennials have a well-documented preference for buying luxury and almost-luxury brands in physical stores. However, a significant part of the buyer’s journey happens on the phone. Spending time appreciating the aesthetics of a brand, generally via Instagram or Pinterest, is a form of relaxation and recreation that in many ways preludes actual shopping.
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Engagement during the discovery phase is critical. In 2015, Forbes reported that 62% of Millennials are more likely to be a loyal customer of brands that engage with them on social media. Engagement means liking and responding to comments, as well as answering inquiries accurately, promptly, and in a brand appropriate manner.
Events that Trigger Luxury Purchases by Millennials
What makes Millennials stop scrolling and start in-store shopping? Often it’s an impending life event, such as a party or wedding. This is in keeping with previous generations, although these events do seem to be happening later and on a smaller scale than Gen X or Baby Boomers experienced. Other retail triggers include wanting to celebrate a large paycheck or to boost the mood when feeling low.