The Power of Millennials and Peer Recommendations in eCommerce
In 2019, millennials are looking to social sources for shopping inspiration.
Since 2019 has just kicked off, let’s take a look at the characteristics of one of the most coveted generations of shoppers who could influence your sales this year: millennials. Then, we’ll talk about how small businesses can use this knowledge to help generate brand interest and produce some incremental revenue.
Millennials are a social bunch
Among millennials—in general, the age group between 18 and 38—social media is a major influence on product discovery and purchasing decisions: 39.8% of them rank social sources (social media, family, friends) in their top three channels for ideas on products to buy.1 It’s not surprising: this is a generation that grew up watching YouTube videos of other kids testing out new toys (“unboxing” videos). Peer recommendations and social influence carry a lot of weight with them.
Millennials are a mobile bunch
These young shoppers are more willing than the average American to make purchases on a mobile device. According to a recent study, 46% of young millennials (ages 18-23) and 67% of older millennials (ages 24-38) say they prefer to shop on a smartphone or tablet, compared to an average of 42% across all age groups.2 Yet many businesses—especially small ones—are still in the early stages of taking advantage of this channel. The ones that offer millennials an intuitive way to shop and pay could see significant conversion.
Millennials are a sharing bunch
Millennials listen to each other on social channels—relatability and authenticity are key with this demographic. They cite their families (75%) and friends (72%) as the biggest influences on their own shopping habits and purchase decisions much more so than they cite celebrities (33%).3 This group’s social influence is significant enough that recommendations can trigger a lot of brand interest.
Venmo is at the intersection of social sharing and commerce
Clearly, there’s a big advantage for businesses that can turn these shoppers into brand advocates. Merchants who understand how to tap into this melding of social influence and commerce in a way that is natural and relevant for consumers can elevate their own brands in the process.
Venmo is a mobile payments platform similar to PayPal, but it is unique in that it allows users to like and share their payments and purchases in a social feed. It’s a social network built around peer-to-peer and cost-splitting transactions.
As more and more people started using Venmo, a funny thing happened: the core Venmo users—namely, millennials—started using the “What’s it for?” memo to share details and updates when sending or requesting payments. What began as ledger became a social feed.
Many transactions are naturally social, like chipping in for a gift or buying tickets for an event, but day-to-day purchases like coffee or groceries aren’t usually significant enough to post about on social platforms. But Venmo has cultivated a forum where it’s natural for friends and family to talk about where they got that vintage t-shirt, scored a make-up haul, or got their latest gadget. And behind every person who pays with Venmo is a network of friends who can view, like, and comment on providing brand exposure with each purchase that is shared publicly or among friends on the feed. With Venmo, businesses can get:
- Exposure. The Venmo feed drives users to open the app 2-3 times per week on average.4
- Real word of mouth. Social referrals from friends and family drive interest and action. 50% of regular Venmo users have made at least one online or in-store purchase after seeing it on a friends social feed.5
- Seamless shopping on mobile. Venmo was developed specifically for mobile platforms, so the customer experience was optimized for mobile from the beginning. Venmo users can buy with just a few taps, split purchases easily among Venmo users, and share their finds with friends.
New! PayPal Checkout in WooCommerce now presents Smart Payment Buttons.
The PayPal Checkout extension in WooCommerce presents shoppers with the most relevant ways to pay. New, Smart Payment Buttons™ dynamically display PayPal, Venmo, PayPal Credit,6 or other local payment options7 in a single stack, so customers choose how to pay without needing to leave your website. Learn more about:
- The PayPal Checkout extension in WooCommerce.
- The benefits of PayPal Checkout.
When businesses offer Venmo as a payment option, they open their doors to the millions of millennials who shop on their mobile devices and prime themselves to reap the benefits of peer influence.
1Source: eMarketer, Where do Millennials look for ideas on products to buy? September 2018. http://totalaccess.emarketer.com/chart.aspx?r=224495
2Source: eMarketer, Which Device Do US Digital Buyers Most Prefer to Make Digital Purchases? September 2018. http://totalaccess.emarketer.com/chart.aspx?r=222926
3Source: eMarketer, Sources of Social Posts/Reviews that Would Influence US Millennial Social Media Users’ Purchase Decisions, October 2017 (% of respondents). http://totalaccess.emarketer.com/chart.aspx?r=214171
4 Venmo internal data, FY 2017
5PayPal Kelton Digital TrendsSurvey. August, 2018. Base (Total Sample, those with a social media account who have taken action after seeing something on their friend’s feed) n=1090; (Venmo users who would take action after seeing something on their friend’s feed) n=138 Q32. Which of the following have you ever done as a result of seeing it on a friend’s social media feed? Includes those who have made a purchase from a new store, restaurant or small business OR made an online purchase based on what (their friends) bought or a link they shared online.
6PayPal Credit is subject to consumer credit approval.
7PayPal Checkout features may not be available in all countries.