I am fascinated by the buying behavior of different sections of society and different nationalities/tribes and what makes the consumer tick.
Recently I have been thinking about the Millenials – those who are the next generation after the Gen-Y.
eMarketer has done two pieces on Millenials and its buying behavior. In the first, Millennials Show Off Brand Relationships, looked at how Millenials interact with and view brands.
Well, put simply, Millenials are actually loyal to brands, according to the study.
Millenials have been identified also as 8095ers (meaning they were born between 1980 and 1995). My two kids are in this age group. I cannot really tell if they are typical or not. But they are highly individual in their behavior and likes and dislikes when it comes to commerce.
So what else? Millenials are quite happy to share information.
But what amazes me is that they seem to have very little worry about privacy, either accepting it or regarding it as normal behavior.
And this seems to be borne out by a separate study. This shows that the Millenials vs others in the generation before them do not seem to worry too much about the ethical behavior of companies or organsations.
As the report explains, brand preference is a top personal identifier for millennials online, alongside such information as religion and ethnicity.
In a separate report, also from eMarketer titled What Really Drives Young Adults' Purchase Decisions?, three issues seem not to matter as much to the Millenials - communicate truthfully, conduct business honestly, and price fairly.
Either they are jaded and expect this behavior, or they just don’t care. I tend to think that the former is the reason not the latter.
The Millenials, according to the study, show that they are still living and paying attention to a higher moral compass than it seems the Gen-Y and Gen-Xers have had.
Again my personal experience definitely shows this to be true, at least in the USA market. Events this week in the UK, during a student demonstration that was a cover for anarchists to start a riot and destroy property in what had been a good natured expression of protest, show that there is clearly a large section of the UK population that is feeling a strong sense of anger.
Does that reflect a peculiarity in the UK or is it a general protest against how the previous generations who created the global financial crisis need to be held to account? That I am not so sure about.
And what about mobile? Is the next generation going to rely and interact more with their mobile device(s) as a way into the web?
Another report on student behavior indicates that many rely on their mobile devices. As we have reached the tipping point where more people have an intelligent hand held device rather than a personal computer, we are now moving to a very personal device based world.
As these people stream into the market, it will change the dynamics of the user experience.
While I am still struggling to accept that the rich experience I have on the fixed web doesn’t translate into that of the mobile web world, it doesn’t seem to agitate those in the the first and new world economies.
For third world, they are simply bypassing the fixed web in many cases altogether.
What does this mean for travel?
How will Millenials act in the travel game. Clearly they are keen to get out there and travel. Travel is seen as a right not a privilege.
But the communication of effective process and transparency are going to be more and more important. Millenials are also going to scrutinise more because they are comfortable with search and their own web skills far more than previous generations.
But relying on social media as the defining influence in brand decisions should be taken under caution. Traditional influences such as family and friends – in other words: personal recommendation - still trumps social media.
Of course the value of brand will stay relevant. Appealing to Millenials is going to be more about communicating higher level principles than just convincing them to hit the Like button.
And perhaps this is a final thought. I have made this point before but I think it needs to be considered in this age of “Follow or Like me..”
Do not equate the “Like” with loyalty. People of all ages are hitting the “Like” button like Monkeys because they are expecting a banana.
Beware treating that behavior as a surrogate of their likely performance in online purchase. For travel this means you had better be clear and transparent with your consumers.
And you had better make all your services accessible via the mobile web as well as the fixed web. In short: time to start thinking more about your IT strategy to support the new breed!