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25% of millennial shoppers consult social media before they make a purchase, but most retailers aren’t there for them

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A recent study looking at the shopping habits of young consumers has found that one in four shoppers turns to social media for inspiration before they commit to a purchase – largely on mobile. However, further research also found that, despite 25% of shoppers using social media to help them decide what purchases to make, 74% of high street retailers don’t actively use social media to engage with consumers.

Commissioned by Maybe*, a new platform that helps consumers decide what to buy, the study questioned 1,978 young adults aged between 16 and 34 years of age, in a bid to understand how millennial shoppers make their purchasing decisions, and mapping the “consumer journey”.

Additional research questioned 296 Gloucestershire-based retailers, which revealed that a staggering 74% of those outlets polled didn’t actively use Twitter or Facebook.

Polly Barnfield OBE, founder of Maybe*, said: “The research presents an interesting dichotomy. On the one hand, one in four millennial shoppers are actively using social media to influence their decision making, yet on the other three quarters of retailers are failing to tap into that market. Consequently, they’re missing a huge opportunity to engage with consumers and help to facilitate a sale.”

Dr. Diane Savory, OBE, DL, GFirst LEP Chair and former Chief Operating Officer of SuperGroup, owner of the Superdry label, also commented on the findings: “In order to stay relevant in an ever evolving retail landscape, it’s essential that high street retailers adapt to reflect that evolution. With social media use now a well-established aspect of today’s society, retailers need to be doing what they can to connect with millennial shoppers.”

Maybe* is working in partnership with the University of Gloucestershire and the University of Nottingham to establish retail and consumer trends in a bid to understand the gap between shopping and buying.

Polly added: “The critical aspect of the consumer journey is the part between that of the act of going shopping and that of actually making a purchase. In order to survive, and indeed thrive, retailers need to shine a light on that process and bridge the gap between these where possible. Our research findings suggest that social media is a key component and one that retailers should be exploiting.”

In light of the research, Maybe* and GFirst LEP along with Gloucester City Council, Cheltenham Borough Council, Stroud County Council and the Government have joined forces and launched a pilot project called ‘What do you think?’ (#WDYT). The aim of which is to establish a dialogue between high street retailers and young shoppers in Gloucestershire, by allowing them instant access to a ready-made social media campaign.

For more information about the #WDYT campaign please visit

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