The team at Max Borges Agency was interested in exploring how the the largest generation in the U.S. shops for new consumer tech products. Curiosity on this topic led to the development of a consumer research study in which we surveyed millennials who owned and purchased consumer tech devices.

In our research into the customer journey for technology purchases, we gained insight into where millennials turn to when discovering, considering and purchasing consumer technology products today.

Millennials report that the web is where they are most often exposed to new consumer technology, with Google and social media channels often offering that first glimpse. With this in mind, marketers should research the most common Google searches around their product category and determine how to earn a position in the top results. This can be accomplished by optimizing website presence in search (which can be highly competitive) or by collaborating with third party media and/or influencers that are existing authorities on these topics. It’s also important to consider social advertising and community building on social media to reach potential buyers.

In addition to partnering with outlets that appear in top search results, it’s also important to consider media outlets that serve as ongoing resources for millennials leading up to tech purchases. Outlets such as Buzzfeed, Digital Trends and USA Today are among the top reputable resources that assist millennials with their purchasing decisions.

Additional resources often turned to when considering a consumer tech purchase are expert reviews and unboxings, both of which offer additional detail into varying new products. Millennials are particularly inclined to seek these resources when they simply don’t have enough knowledge of the technology at hand, or when the high price of an item warrants additional research.

Product categories that most commonly require review and unboxing consultation are those where smart tech is involved; Smartphones and virtual assistants top the list.

When final purchase decisions are in the works, millennials consider price and quality most important. However, differences by gender suggest men and women are far from the same page when weighing a final decision; Where men peg features and user experience as most important, women prefer to primarily consider quality and design. Awareness of these differences should be kept top of mind for marketers looking to devise messaging and content that speaks to all.

In terms of final purchase destination, Amazon represents the top go-to, both on web and mobile. In fact, millennials are two times as likely to buy on Amazon over a brand’s website, nearly half cite increased trust in the site over the past year, and about half say they plan to spend more on Amazon over the next year.

 

For those preferring brick and mortar purchase venues, Best Buy is the most likely stop.

Not surprisingly, millennials and social media share a close bond, with most reporting heavy usage on Instagram and Facebook, checking feeds regularly. Millennials, social media and consumer tech intersect at the point of engagement, as 3 out of 4 millennials report they are likely to interact with consumer tech brands online, and most agree social media has been of assistance when making tech purchases.

Popular consumer tech products – headphones, mobile accessories and smartphones – represent the top categories shopped over the past 12 months, whereas more recent/niche items, such as drones and baby tech, were least shopped during this period.

Marketers seeking to engage millennial buyers should keep these purchase behavior trends top of mind when building their marketing programs. Recommended initiatives include working with top media appearing in search results around your product category, engaging prospective customers to join your social communities and ensuring your product listings are competitive on Amazon.