Only 1 in 5 Millennials Describe Themselves As Loyal to Specific Brands. Here’s What Moves the Needle.

August 8, 2018

Just 19% of Millennials in the US best describe their purchase tendencies as tending to be loyal to specific brands and largely buying from them repeatedly. That’s according to a report from Morning Consult [download page], which instead found that most either usually consider alternatives despite some brand preferences (48%) or outright don’t pay attention to brands (28%).

Millennials don’t necessarily largely differ from the general population in that regard. In a fascinating study released last year, McKinsey found that most purchases across product categories are made while shopping around rather than from loyalty.

Nevertheless, there are some factors that can help drive loyalty among youth, per Morning Consult’s report.

Quality and Reliability Are Key

The survey of 2,202 adults looked specifically at the factors that 22-37-year-olds (Millennials, in this case) consider very important contributors to their brand loyalty.

The biggest influence on Millennials’ loyalty is reliability and/or durability, as cited by two-thirds (68%) of respondents. It’s followed by high quality given the price (54%) as the only two factors believed by a majority to be very important contributors to brand loyalty.

Again, Millennials may simply be reflecting the preferences of the wider population here. In a global survey released a couple of years ago, Havas Worldwide found that quality and reliability/durability were considered the two most important core values for brands to embody. The same year, a separate survey found adults referring to product quality and value as their key customer loyalty levers.

Separate results from Morning Consult’s survey confirm that these elements are crucial to Millennials. When asked to associate a variety of terms with any of the brands they’re loyal to, respondents were most likely to associate “well priced given the quality” (85%); “reliable” (81%); and “high quality” (80%).

Don’t Forget About Customer Service

Beyond reliability and high quality, Millennials also say they’re highly influenced by customer service interactions. Indeed, half said that positive interactions with a brand’s customer service team are very important in contributing to their brand loyalty.

Poor interactions can also have a strong adverse effect on brand loyalty: three-quarters (74%) of respondents said that poor customer service would make them less likely to purchase products from a brand they’re loyal to. That topped all other factors that would cause Millennials to drop their loyalty to a brand.

Millennials Care About How Companies Treat Their Employees

Most Millennials would also buy less from a brand they’re loyal to if they found out it treated its employees poorly, per the report.

For example 7 in 10 would do so if they found out that the brand doesn’t pay their employees well, and a similar percentage (69%) would buy less from a brand if they learned that the brand relies on unethical labor practices.

Furthermore two-thirds would be less likely to buy from a brand they’re loyal to were they to discover that the CEO makes a lot of money while the average employee makes little.

Separately, fully 72% of Millennials said they’d like a company either much more (51%) or somewhat more (21%) if they found out that it paid its employees well. There was broader consensus among respondents about liking a company more on that basis than on any other business ethic tested, including giving away a large share of profits to a good cause and producing goods in America or in-state.

Millennials Love YouTube

The Morning Consult report also includes data sourced from brand rating surveys conducted among 18-29-year-olds. Ordered by net favorability (favorability minus unfavorability), the report indicates that the following 5 brands have the best perception among Millennials:

  • YouTube (82%);
  • Google (81%);
  • Netflix (80%);
  • (74%); and
  • Sony (72%).

These findings suggest that tech and entertainment brands are much-loved by Millennials (several are among the most-loved brands on social media, too).

Meanwhile, there are some brands that appear to be more loved by Millennials than by the general population. The leading ones of note are Red Bull (21% points greater net favorability among Millennials than the general population), Snapchat (+19), Spotify (+16) and Instagram (+16).

Red Bull aside, it’s not surprising to see the presence of those other brands. Snapchat and Instagram are well known to be heavily-oriented to youth, and Spotify’s popularity has been rapidly rising among youth, too.

The full report is available for download here.

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