Teen Vogue research explores social media and how Millennials shop

March 26, 2014

In order to understand how social media influences the ways millennials shop, Teen Vogue has identified the role social plays in driving beauty and fashion trial and purchase.

For Millennials, social media is a path within a path to buy — the multichannel shopper now uses social media to do more than just share. She actively participates in the content created not just by peers but also by marketers to inform her purchasing decisions.

Teen Vogue's "Seeing Social" survey explores the role social media plays in the beauty and fashion decision-making process, identifying where, how, and why they engage with social.

According to the survey:

Social showrooming is an emerging shopping resource

Social media delivers more than wish-list window shopping — it is, essentially, a social-purchasing path for girls that leverages each platform's strength and point of engagement to enhance the shopping process. Eighty-five percent of respondents have been driven to purchase something after seeing it on a social media network — but the storefront of a posting is just the beginning. Young women take a three-part path on social before transaction:

1. See it: Instagram is the number one platform that inspires respondents to purchase.

2. Search it: When respondents find a fashion or beauty brand they like on social media, they search YouTube videos showing how best to wear or apply the product (52 percent).

3. Shop it: Before purchase, they engage in "comparison shopping" on social media platforms. By platform, top behaviors include the following:

  • find additional product images: Pinterest (48 percent);
  • read reviews and recommendations: YouTube (43 percent); and
  • seek out sales/deals: Facebook (36 percent).

Emerging trend: adoption of social commerce

  • 1 in 4 respondents (26 percent) has made a purchase directly from a social network; and
  • 47 percent would like to see social networks provide the ability to purchase a product they're viewing directly from the network's feed.

The future of social

Influential young women are seeking to maximize technology's ability to personalize engagement. They want social media to bring them closer to the products and brands they're seeing on their screens, seamlessly translating the digital experience to a bricks-and-mortar transaction.

When asked what they would like to see more of from fashion and beauty brands on social media:

  • 81 percent said they wanted more product sampling;
  • 65 percent said, "Tell me where the closest store is to buy the product I'm looking at"; and
  • 56 percent said, "Post more looks and products that make sense for where I live."

According to respondents, the future belongs to Instagram. It is the platform most often cited as the one that "everyone will be talking about next year," and the clear must-have app this year:

  • "If you had to pick just one social network to use, what would it be?" No. 1: Instagram
  • "What is the social network you'll be talking about in the coming year?" No. 1: Instagram

Fielded March 4–11, the survey generated 1,074 responses from Teen Vogue's It Girl community, composed of a U.S. sample of young women, aged 13–29. The survey was developed by Teen Vogue's in-house consumer insights group, Teen Vogue Think Tank, and was executed by Vision Critical, a Canadian market research firm based in Vancouver.

Topics: Consumer Behavior , Marketing , Omnichannel / Multichannel , Online Retailing , Social Media

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