Brand loyalty. There are many variations of the definition, but our favorite is the “extent of the faithfulness of consumers to a particular brand, expressed through repeat purchases.” Brand loyalty is an interesting concept because it matters greatly to all retailers.
TrendSource wants to help you understand your customers, so we decided to find out how brand loyalty is expressed by different generations. We examine the who, what, when, where, and why of brand loyalty in order to determine things like why Generation X’ers purchase from a specific retailer, if the Silent Generation cares about customer service or product availability, and more. Let’s break it down.
Generations of Surveys
To explore what drives brand loyalty among generations, we electronically surveyed over 4,000 North American Field Agents. For the purposes of this study, we broke down respondents into generational buckets:
- Millennials 1: Ages 19-26
- Millennials 2: Ages 27-34
- Gen X: 35-50
- Baby Boomer: 51-69
- Silent Generation: 70 and older
Before studying brand loyal enthusiasts, we wanted to make sure they actually understood brand loyalty, and results showed that Millennials understand brand loyalty more than any other generation (90%). Across the board, though, all generations do understand that brand loyalty is consistently purchasing products or services from preferred brands, regardless of quality, convenience, price or availability.
Different Types of Loyalty
Consumers can be brand loyal for any number of reasons. Perhaps they have a preferred brand label, or a specific store they visit most often, or maybe the customer service at their favorite store is so amazing, they don’t bother going anywhere else. Whatever the loyalty, the reasons behind that loyalty become incredibly valuable for retail strategies.
We thought carefully about what retailers might consider to be the most important drivers behind brand loyalty and identified 6 primary motivations for consumers when shopping for fashion:
- Product Quality
- Product Availability
- Intrinsic (“I just like it”)
Labels, Stores, Customer Service and More
We found that of those loyal to a brand label, each generation group rated product quality and style as the most important aspects. Surprisingly, the Silent Generation seemed the most concerned with style when considering a brand label (71%), and Baby Boomers, who were the least likely to consider themselves brand loyal, chose product quality as their number one driver for brand loyalty (77%).
More than any other generation, Millennials selected value and price as a determining factor in their brand or store loyalty, suggesting that careless spending may not be the norm—an important insight as they quickly become the group with the largest spending power both locally and globally.
The Customer Service Experience
While customer service is an important aspect of the in-store experience, the Silent Generation cared the least about it. Aside from this, all other generation groups indicated friendliness of staff being and knowledge/helpfulness of staff as the top two customer service behaviors.
More specifically, Gen X’ers want their staff to be knowledgeable more than anything else (54%). Older Millennials are only concerned about the customer experience during their returns and exchanges. Contrastingly, younger Millennials aren’t very concerned with returns and exchanges, but rather require employee interactions to be friendly, competent, and kind.
Product Quality: A Generational Difference
There is a stark difference in the way generations view product quality as it relates to brand loyalty.
- Millennial 1: 27%
- Millennial 2: 28%
- Millennials together: 28%
- Gen X: 29%
- Boomers: 43%
- Silents: 43%
The older the consumer, the more likely they are to be concerned with product quality. Alternatively, the younger the consumer the more likely they are to be concerned with value over product quality. For example, Silents were most concerned about product quality and least concerned with value and price, but Millennials were most concerned about value and price and least concerned with product quality.
No Such Thing as One Size Fits All
Given the variety of motivations driving brand loyalty and the differences between generational behaviors, it’s important for retailers to consider these differences when creating their marketing strategies. Fashion has never been a “one size fits all” so why should retail marketing strategies?