The number of factors that determine a shopper’s purchasing habits are increasing as retailers expand their offerings both online and in-store. With some consumers more influence by external factors - like people and prestige, and others conscious of practical logistics, it’s important for marketers to understand how we’re different and tap into what works.

To uncover the main drivers of consumer shopping habits we conducted global research with over 5,000 consumers in 13 countries to create the 5 Ps of Shopper Motivation report. It set out to understand and identified five key shopper profiles: Peer, Price, Practicality, Personalisation and Perk Motivated Shoppers.

The Peer Motivated Shopper

While this is the smallest group identified within the report, the Peer Motivated Shopper is the most loyal. Taking advice, inspiration and recommendations from friends, family members and online comments, the Peer Motivated Shopper likes to follow the lead of their peers – and are most likely to shop daily (16%) when compared to Price Motivated Shoppers (6%).

Unsurprisingly, those aged 25-34 years old are most likely to fall into this category of shopper (11% globally). This tallies with Barclay Consulting Group research, which found that 68% of this age group won’t make a major decision until they’ve discussed it with a few people they trust, compared to 52% of those aged between 35 and 74.

Added to this, The New Language of Luxury found that before making a purchase, the younger generation turns to technology to seek reassurance from their peers with 34% talking about it via text/chat/ messaging. Excited to share news about their latest shopping haul, the research also discovered that 22% turn to social media to showcase their latest shopping purchase. Clearly, this generation care about what their peers think. With this in mind, why are they important and how can digital marketing professionals engage with Peer Motivated Shoppers?

As the most loyal consumer group, Peer Motivated Shoppers are the most likely to promote their favourite retailer to others, 65% compared to 38% of Price Motivated Shoppers. This is essential as it is estimated that those born between the early 1980s and early 2000s will have the most spending power of any generation from 2018.

Making the most of digital

For this generation, it’s not surprising that they are turning to their peers and family members as well as online reviews and social media channels for instant shopping advice as highlighted by PwC’s Total Retail report.

The increasing use of social media by this consumer category makes purchasing a product a more communal experience. This sees friends, family members and online communities all being kept up to date with a shopper’s purchase both before and after the event. To make this easier social shopping apps such as ModCloth and Wanelo have been developed. These platforms enable users to share their latest purchases, find similar products and build a community of people with like-minded shopping styles.

It is essential that retailers continue to strive to meet the needs of this small but powerful digitally-minded group, as they are the most ardent of supporters and will buy products again and again. In fact, the 5Ps report found that Peer Motivated Shoppers regularly shop more than once a week. Many brands have already reaped the benefits of effectively reaching this peer-motivated consumer category, for example:

• In 2017, clothing retailer Boohoo nearly doubled its profits following an Instagram influencer campaign where it used celebrities and bloggers to promote its products. With peer recommendations influential for reaching this audience, online influencer campaigns are set to continue throughout 2018 and beyond.

• Social media platforms are also continuing to offer brands new ways of reaching customers. For example, Pinterest is using its Lens feature to partner with retailers, allowing customers to simply take a photograph of a product and find a similar item available from the brand. Instagram has also upgraded its Stories function to allow brands to directly reach consumers by introducing its “Swipe up” function. With 250 million people around the world watching and creating Instagram Stories every day, this is no doubt the first in a number of planned upgrades that will enable brands and consumers to generate conversations from the popular app.

• New social shopping apps have also been created to allow users to share photographs of their favourite purchases. Combining a shopping platform with a social media channel, apps such as Qwibe, allow users to share images whilst shopping, gain followers and purchase products directly through it.

Today’s consumer shopping habits are driven by an increasing number of influences, understanding a retailer’s target audience is a complex and ever-changing task. For brands and marketing professionals targeting the younger generation, it’s clear that peer recommendations and product insight delivered via digital channels are vital to reaching, engaging and keeping the most loyal consumer group happy.


By Guy Chiswick, managing director at Webloyalty Northern Europe

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