About 1 in 4 Americans Personalize Products Across Categories

June 28, 2018

Some 26% of American adults personalize products and/or services across industry categories, reports YouGov [download page] in a new study. The personalization economy is growing in popularity, according to the results, as the 26% reporting personalization of a product or service is up from 17% in 2015.

Personalization of products and services – either for the consumer or as a gift – is highest in the Apparel & Footwear and Food & Beverages sectors. In each of these, 29% of adults surveyed reported having engaged in some form of personalization.

Product and service personalization is closer to the average for Technology Products (27%) and Vacation and Travel Experiences (25%), while slightly below-average for Household Goods (22%). Interestingly, a report released a couple of years ago found that based on a mix of relevance, success stories and consumer desire, the Technology industry stands to benefit most from customization.

Why Do People Personalize Products?

The YouGov report identifies the main reasons people give for personalizing products and/or services across the 5 industries measured. Among the key reasons given are:

  • To design a product to meet a specific need – with this especially important in the Vacation & Travel Experiences category;
  • To identify a product as “belonging to me” – with this of particular prominence for Technology Products;
  • To design something just for fun – of note in the Apparel & Footwear and Food & Beverages sectors;
  • To demonstrate creativity – important in each of the industries identified; and
  • To stand out from other people – of particular importance in the Apparel & Footwear category.

It’s worth noting that previous research has found that the ability to achieve a certain image is an important customization factor for youth.

Who Personalizes?

To build a profile of “personalizers,” YouGov dug into its YouGov Profiles data, which monitors the opinions of 200,000+ US adults and is updated every two weeks. On the basis of that analysis, YouGov notes that people who have personalized a product tend to be young, highly educated, and with at least $1,000 of monthly disposable income. That may be why price is not too much of an issue for them, with almost half (46%) of “personalizers” saying they’d be willing to pay more for personalization.

In terms of reaching “personalizers,” YouGov notes that they’re more likely than those who haven’t personalized a product before to keep up to date with the latest technology, watch live streams, and use a smartphone as their main device.

Meanwhile, 8% of adults report having personalized a product for someone else. These “gifters” skew female and young, and many are parents of children under the age of 18. YouGov recommends looking at radio as a medium to reach “gifters,” as they enjoy listening to local radio stations and tend to notice ads on the radio. This group also typically knows new and emerging music artists and reports an influence on purchase decisions from celebrity endorsements.

Other Report Highlights

  • Avid fans of personalization (those who say that product/service personalization is a top interest) have above-average Hispanic and Black representation. They’re more likely than average to be basketball fans and to take leisure trips involving activities and sports.
  • People who personalize Apparel & Footwear are more likely than other “personalizers” to keep up with current fashion trends, to spend a lot on clothes, and to like to stand out.
  • People who personalize Travel & Vacation Services are more likely than other “personalizers” to be part of a rewards program and to choose a hotel based on the availability of nearby leisure activities.

About the Data: The survey data contained in the report is based on online research conducted in April among 2,261 US adults.

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