Marketers can grumble all they want about non-loyal millennials, but that doesn’t change the reality that they’re going to need to adapt if they wish to capture this younger market.
New data shows that 18-to-34-year-olds do in fact want to commit to specific products and companies. A recent survey by Facebook IQ of 14,700 U.S. adults and found that millennials are 1.75 times as likely as baby boomers to say that they’d like to be more loyal to brands. The survey examined sentiments and behavior related to five industries: auto insurance, airlines, hotels, grocery and restaurants.
Millennials have different habits and expectations than their parents’ generation. Technology allows them to move around for work, and moving is 1.44 times more likely to be a barrier to them buying auto insurance than it is for boomers. The tech-savvy younger generation also expects to be able to get in contact with brands quickly, and it turns them off when airlines and hotels aren’t readily reachable.
When it comes to food, millennials seek cleanliness and healthiness. They are 2.5 times more likely than boomers to list a store’s hygiene level as a deterrent to stopping there, and they are twice as likely than boomers to cite a lack of healthy options as a barrier for dining at a restaurant.
Another aspect that might stop millennials from clinging onto brands is their finances. Facebook IQ found that survey respondents who report a household income of $150,000 or more are 32 percent more likely to be loyal than those who report a household income of under $35,000.
Millennials, according to the survey, were born roughly between 1982 and 1998. Many of them, especially those born in the ‘90s, have not had much time to build their careers and earn hefty salaries. This could explain why millennials are not as loyal as brands would prefer: They don’t have the money (yet). One company that looks to address this issue is Whole Foods Market with its new chain of 365 stores, designed to offer affordable products along with quality and transparency -- other values that millennials prioritize.
Another demographic millennials have yet to fully transition into is the parent set. The survey found that new parents are slightly more likely to be brand-loyal than non-parents across industries. Forty-two percent of parents with a child under 1 describe themselves as loyal, compared with 36 percent of people with no children.
Perhaps when more millennials become parents, they will forego brand experimentation and become more loyal to hotels, restaurants and other companies that they know will provide the necessary amenities when they have their children in tow.
To be sure, while prices and parenthood play important roles in purchasing habits, ultimately a person’s relationship to a brand has more to do with positive memories associated with that brand. When Facebook IQ asked adults across economic backgrounds to describe their most beloved brands, they focused more on experience than consistency, cost or quality. Words such as “fun,” “cool,” “healthy,” “clean,” “delicious,” “innovative,” “variety,” “friendly” and “service” fell into the “experience” category.
Meanwhile, the surveyors found that people who are loyal to specific companies tended to cite emotional motivators of service and trust, while those who make repeat purchases without company loyalty focus more on convenience and price.It’s important to know who your audience is, what they value and expect and what life stage they're in. However, regardless of age or income, remember that “to achieve loyalty,” according to Facebook, “brand relationships should be up-leveled to a more emotional and experiential standing.”