Survey: Retail Loyalty Strengthened Among Millennials Post-Pandemic

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Brand loyalty is changing, and it might not necessarily be for the worst. Despite dire predictions earlier in the pandemic that consumers would be more likely to opt for alternative brands, a new survey by the location intelligence firm Ubimo paints a very different picture. 

According to Ubimo’s data, the number of shoppers who say they usually visit the same store to replenish goods is up 5% compared to the height of the pandemic. Compared to other age groups, millennials are showcasing even more loyalty to specific stores. With more people now shopping in-store, and loyalty up among the critical 25 to 44-year-old demographic, retailers have a prime opportunity to build relationships with their shoppers. 

One of the most effective ways to build those relationships is through out-of-home advertising, explains Norm Chait, director of out-of-home product and sales at Quotient. As he looked through the findings in Ubimo’s survey, Chait says he was surprised to see such a high percentage of shoppers noting that they go to their local stores “with a plan.” Even more interesting, he says, was the percentage of shoppers that are likely to purchase a product after seeing it in an OOH advertisement.

“Based on the fact that 91% of shoppers go to the store with a specific plan in mind, we were glad to see that OOH advertisements still had an effect on consumers’ purchase decisions despite a pre-planned trip. In fact, 61% of shoppers reported that they were likely to purchase a product after seeing it in an OOH advertisement,” Chait says. “The pandemic was a startling experience for the OOH advertising industry, but this data shows that there’s still a strong opportunity to connect with consumers through OOH advertising.”

Gen-Z and millennial shoppers, in particular, indicated they felt stronger about retailer loyalty now than before the pandemic, with a strong likelihood of purchasing something after seeing it in an OOH advertisement. Chait believes the reasons for this are varied, from screen fatigue to simply wanting more opportunities to connect with the outside world.

“There are a couple of different ways advertisers can capitalize on this high level of influence. One is by using the same level of granularity when making ad buys that a marketer might use in the rest of their digital ad buys,” Chait says. “With DOOH, brands can identify screens that index highly to specific age groups.” 

Targeted Messaging

Marketers should be cognizant of gen-z and millennial tendencies when creating brand messaging. Ubimo’s research found that 80% of consumers think brand messaging is important, particularly regarding the realities of Covid-19 within the consumer’s community. That’s a 17% increase from August of 2020. Seventy-nine percent of xennials (the micro-generation of people on the cusp of the gen-x and millennial demographics) said they consider messaging “extremely important,” compared to lower numbers in other generational cohorts.

Chait says messaging that contains humor or verbiage that’s relevant to younger shoppers can further the relationship.

“Right now, it’s important for consumers to see brand messaging that’s sensitive to what’s happening in the world and relevant to current events,” he says. “The pandemic created a demand for consumers to be understood and informed about what brands are doing to ensure the safety and health of their customers.”

Looking forward, Chait expects to see more brands focusing on targeted messaging in OOH campaigns. The changes in consumer culture noted in Ubimo’s survey could be especially advantageous to digital out-of-home (DOOH) advertisers, since digital advertisers are more able to update messaging as necessary.

Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.