Arlington, VA—Millennials, consumers between the ages of 13 and 31, “exert considerable influence on others when it comes to buying consumer electronics (CE) devices,” according to a study by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA). The study, Millennials: The New Face of Retail, examined how the social media savvy generation, heavy purchasers of CE devices themselves, research those devices, where and why they purchase CE, and their influence on others in purchasing CE.
Millennials were defined as those born between 1981 and 1999, with Youth Millennials born between 1995 and 1999 (ages 13–17) and Adult Millennials born between 1981 and 1994 (ages 18–31). The CEA study compared Millennials to three other generations: the Silent Generation (1928–1945), Baby Boomers (1946–1964) and Generation X (1965–1980).
According to CEA, Millennials have the highest intent to purchase CE devices among the four generations, with 75% of respondents stating they plan to purchase CE products in the next 12 months, compared to 67% among Generation X, 55% among Baby Boomers and 49% among the Silent Generation.
“While income constrained Youth Millennials do not spend as much money on CE devices as Adult Millennials, they do heavily influence their friends’ and family members’ CE purchases, thereby influencing overall purchasing trends,” states the report. More than half (60%) of Youth Millennials said they influence their parents’ CE purchases, and 41% give advice to friends and/or parents on the consumer electronics they should purchase. Among Adult Millennials, 33% give advice on CE purchases.
In addition to giving advice on what products to purchase, according to the study, 32% of Youth Millennials and 28% of Adult Millennials said they give advice to friends and/or family on where to shop for CE devices. Notable here is the finding that even though this generation makes heavy use of the Internet, Millennials rely on brick-and-mortar stores for CE purchases: 42% of the Millennials surveyed said they usually visit a store prior to purchasing a CE product and half said it is important to touch or try out a product before purchasing.
“The Millennial generation is a crucial audience for electronics manufacturers and retailers. Millennials not only seek electronics at a high rate for themselves, they also exert a great deal of influence on the CE purchases of others in their circles,” said Rhonda Daniel, manager of Market Research for CEA. “While some consumers within the Millennial generation, specifically the Youth Millennials, do not have the disposable income of their older cohorts, we expect they will continue to invest in CE products and services as they age and their levels of income rise.”
While it’s no surprise that the Internet is the most used research resource for consumer electronics in general, the CEA study found “Millennials rely just as much on their friends to learn about CE devices as they do the Internet. When researching products, Millennials are more likely than other generations to ask people they know about products before purchasing. Millennials are also more than twice as likely as non-Millennials to use blogs (12% versus 5%) and social networking sites (18% versus 7%) to learn about the latest CE products.”
The Millennials: The New Face of Retail study was conducted in September 2012. It was designed and formulated by CEA Market Research. The complete report is available free to CEA member companies at members.CE.org. Nonmembers may purchase the study for $999 at myCEA.CE.org.