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Polling

Momentive study: consumer purchasing decisions

Momentive study: consumer purchasing decisions

Key findings:

  • Younger consumers are increasingly reliant on social media to inform their purchasing decisions
  • Higher income consumers, however, show skepticism toward social media, instead relying on an array of sources to inform their purchasing decisions
  • Higher income consumers also have a higher threshold for trusting sources when researching products, emphasizing authenticity, thoroughness, and objectivity
  • Loyalty programs prove popular among consumers, especially those with higher incomes

Younger consumers are increasingly reliant on social media to inform their purchasing decisions

The majority of U.S consumers use social media as a source of information for product research, including 57% of U.S. adults overall, 72% of Gen Zers, and 70% of Millennials. 

  • Facebook remains the dominant social media platform for consumers overall when looking to gather information about a product before purchasing. 
  • Gen Xers are especially reliant on Facebook, while Instagram and TikTok resonate most among younger shoppers. 
  • Nearly half (45%) of Gen Zers use Instagram for product research, 1.5x higher than Facebook and TikTok.

Despite the proliferation of social media, most consumers still rely on more traditional sources as their initial source of information: 

  • Only 2% of U.S. adults overall turn to social media as their first source of information when researching products, instead relying on Google (33%), product review sites (17%), Amazon (17%), or product pages (16%) themselves.

This balance is shifting, however, as Amazon and social media see a higher usage as the first stop in the purchasing journey for younger consumers. While Google remains the leading initial destination across all ages, 23% of Gen Z shoppers first go to Amazon (vs. 17% overall), and 7% go to social media (vs. 2% overall).

Higher income consumers also have a higher threshold for trusting sources when researching products

U.S. adults making $100k or more annually are less likely to rely on social media to learn about purchases, and more likely to visit product review sites, product pages, and customer reviews. This trend is consistent across both wealthier Millennial and Gen Z consumers, highlighting differences in purchasing decision preferences even within age cohorts.

Higher income consumers are also more stringent in what they look for in a trusted source: both Gen Z and Millennials with six-figure incomes place a greater emphasis on authenticity, thoroughness of reviews, objective viewpoints, and expertise.

Loyalty programs prove popular among consumers, with higher-income consumers especially eager to establish symbiotic relationships with brands

Nearly 3 in 4 (71%) U.S. adults are enrolled in some type of loyalty program, most commonly with grocery stores and online retailers. Wealthier consumers are more likely to be enrolled in one than those making less than $100k a higher, highlighting opportunities for brands to deepen relationships with consumers who have higher spending power. Airlines especially see higher enrollment among wealthier consumers: Millennials making $100k or more a year are more than twice as likely (39% vs 17%) as those making less than $100k to be enrolled in a loyalty program with an airline, with the gap increasing between these two income groups among Gen Xers (49% vs. 17%).

Read more about our methodology here.