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42% of young shoppers consult Facebook friends when spending more than £60

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A recent study looking at the shopping habits of young consumers has found that 42% use Facebook to ask their friends for opinions when spending over £60, thanks to the ubiquity of Facebook on mobile.

The survey also revealed just how dependent shoppers are on thoughts from others, with between 65% and 80% of respondents stating that feedback validated their opinion.

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 decide what to buy, and mapping the “consumer journey”.

The study has already shown that 25% of millennial shoppers look at social before buying, but are stymied by many retailers now taking the channel seriously.

Polly Barnfield OBE, the founder of Maybe*, explains: “Researching how consumers shop has opened our eyes to the variety of different ways people choose to purchase products. The report highlights that price, location and inspiration all impact how we shop. Whilst price and location are obvious factors, what’s really interesting is the amount of validation people seek.”

She adds: “The majority of us like to ask for our friends’ opinion when shopping if they’re physically present, but it seems that many of us also like to broaden the scope of feedback, especially if we’re spending a lot. Facebook can be an easy mediator for a tricky purchasing decision.”

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: “It’s understandable that as the cost of a purchase goes up, so does the amount of deliberation. What stands out most to me is that feedback from friends, family or even forums are so important when making a buying decision.”

She continues: “From a retailer’s perspective, this is something that they should be focusing on. If they can help shoppers validate their purchases with their peers, subsequently they’ll be more inclined to spend in store. I think it’s an important element of the shopping process that retailers are missing out on.”

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

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.

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