Millennial Purchase Behavior [INSIGHT & REPORT]

  Valassis announced the results of its Sixth Annual RedPlum Purse String Survey that provides greater insight into millennials and their shopping behaviors that rely more heavily on print than you might expect.

With newspaper as their number one source for coupons and deals, these promotion-sensitive millennials are getting their savings the same way as all other consumers across age groups and income levels with 51 percent indicating this print source is their first choice for savings. The top five places all respondents most often get their coupons and deals from are the newspaper; emails/coupon alerts; Internet searches; mailbox; and retail circulars. For millennials, in-store exceeds their use of retail circulars by 4 percentage points to rank fifth.  From print sources, millennials get their deals:

  • 33 percent from the mail;
  • 21 percent from retail circulars; and
  • 20 percent from coupon books.

This doesn’t mean, though, that this digitally-charged, on-the-go generation is walking away from digital savings. In fact, they are leading the digital trend. Over the last 12 months, 27 percent of millennials indicated they are using more mobile coupons compared to 17 percent of the overall findings. Millennials actually are using their smartphone to a greater degree than the general population:

  • 45 percent access a coupon in an email on their smartphone compared to 24 percent of all respondents;
  • 41 percent access a coupon code on their smartphone versus 24 percent;
  • 36 percent compare deals versus 20 percent; and
  • 32 percent download a coupon to a loyalty card compared to 20 percent.

“The RedPlum Purse String Survey results are somewhat counter intuitive from what you might expect based on what we know about millennials,” said Lisa Reynolds, Valassis Vice President of Consumer Engagement. “While they are heavy digital users, this group also embraces tried and true methods for savings, as much as any other age group. Promotion sensitive, they are a true testament to the use of savings from both print and digital sources.”

When it comes to sharing, millennials do so at the highest rate (90 percent) among all age groups. Here’s how they share:

  • Word of mouth – 71 percent versus 56 percent of the general populace;
  • Social – 43 percent versus 29 percent with Facebook as their channel of choice accounting for 33 percent of their social sharing, 10 percent higher than overall findings; and
  • Text – 30 percent versus 19 percent.

So what type of items are they most interested in? Grocery dominates across all respondents but even more for millennials with 85 percent seeking grocery coupons compared to 78 percent of the overall findings followed by clothing and dining out.

Consumer Confidence

When it comes to consumer confidence, there is a significant difference among Haves (those with an income over $60,000) versus the Have Nots (those with an income under $60,000), although interestingly, there is not a significant difference in their savings behaviors. Almost half of the Haves (48 percent) are feeling the same as last year about their family’s financial situation compared to 39 percent of Have Nots. Moreover, 38 percent of the Have Nots are feeling either less confident than last year or not confident at all versus 26 percent of the Haves.


When looking for savings, more than half of mobile users indicated they are likely to identify an item in store but make the purchase online for clothing/shoes (61 percent); household goods (52 percent), and big ticket items (55 percent). In all instances, this behavior was driven by a better price.

“Consumers have become efficient deal-seekers and are achieving savings by clipping coupons, downloading them to their smartphones and sharing with friends in a variety of ways including across their social networks. It’s a new world,” Reynolds added. “The path they take to make their purchase decisions is varied and marketers are taking note to better engage and activate consumers wherever they plan, shop, buy and share.”

To download Fact Sheet CLICK HERE.



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