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Maritz(R) Poll: Online Groups & Blogs Beat Texting as Retailers Reach out to Gen Y Shoppers
Aug 08, 2007 (08:08 AM EDT)


ST. LOUIS, Aug. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Retailers are continually trying to understand the buying behaviors of Gen Y shoppers to solve the puzzle of how to reach them in a relevant manner. A new Maritz(R) Poll, conducted by Maritz Research, a world leader in consumer market research, reveals the buying behaviors of Gen Y shoppers and how they use online venues and text messaging to interact with specialty apparel retailers.

"Generation Y continues to be an important, albeit somewhat enigmatic, target for retailers," said Gloria Park Bartolone, division vice president, Maritz Research's Retail Group. "While some have questioned the relevance of online marketing approaches for retailers, this study, which focused on Gen Y's attitudes alone, reveals that online efforts are key to winning these retail influencers."

They Are Text Happy, But Not Necessarily For Retailers

The majority (69 percent) of the poll's Generation Y shoppers* said they send between one and 10 text messages per day, and individuals in the generational group on average text approximately 17 messages per day. However, while texting seems like a perfect channel for retailers to reach Gen Y shoppers because it's used so much, it isn't actually the best. The poll revealed that approximately two-in-three respondents (65 percent) said they were "unlikely to or would definitely not subscribe" to offers solicited via cell phone or PDA. Only 5 percent of respondents currently subscribe to offers via text.

"Text messaging seems to be popular for personal matters, not as an advertising or promotion tool for retailers," said Bartolone. "While there is growing retailer interest in mobile marketing, this tells us retailers need to be relevant to this audience to make it an effective channel to communicate."

Taking the Message Online

If the buying behaviors of Gen Yers aren't impacted by interaction with retailers via text message, what are they responsive to? It turns out 48 percent of Generation Y respondents said they belong to an online group hosted by a retailer. Also, approximately one-in-four (26 percent) have posted an online review for a product or specific retailer, and approximately two-in-three (67 percent) use online reviews as a source when making purchasing decisions.

"Online groups are multiplying exponentially every day and Gen Yers continue to sign up for them," said Bartolone. "In addition to providing a community that Gen Y shoppers want to be a part of, online groups are an excellent way for a retailer to capture valuable information about these current or potential customers."

Also, blogs are a venue in which Gen Y shoppers either mention products or retailers or where they go for information that can impact their buying behaviors. Twenty-two percent of poll respondents indicated they have mentioned products or retailers in a personal blog, and a similar number (21 percent) said they have used other blogs as a resource on purchasing decisions.

"Because peer opinions are extremely important to Generation Y, they're likely to take online reviews posted by their peers to heart," said Bartolone. "Retailers should also pay close attention to blogs and online reviews mentioning their products and brand and consider fixing problems that repeatedly come up. Retailers need to show Gen Y they are listening."

* About This Maritz(R) Poll

Maritz(R) Poll is a national consumer opinion survey conducted periodically by Maritz Research. This recent online Maritz Poll on buying behavior surveyed 1,062 randomly selected adults throughout the United States who shop at specialty apparel stores. The respondents had shopped at one or more of the following five stores in the 90 days prior to the survey: Abercrombie & Fitch, Aeropostale, American Eagle Outfitters, Express or The Gap. For the purposes for this buying behaviors poll, Generation Y is defined as adults between the ages 18 and 30. Margin of error for the poll is +/-3 percent.

About Maritz Research

As one of the world's largest marketing research firms, Maritz Research, a unit of Maritz Inc., helps many of today's most successful companies improve performance through a deep understanding of their customers, employees and channel partners. Founded in 1973, it offers a range of strategic and tactical solutions concentrating primarily in the automotive, financial services, hospitality, pharmaceutical, telecommunications, retail, workplace and technology industries. The company has achieved ISO 9001 registration, the international symbol of quality. It is a member of CASRO, the Conference Board, and is the official sponsor of the American Marketing Association.

About Maritz Inc.

St. Louis-based Maritz Inc. is a sales and marketing services company, which helps companies achieve their full potential through understanding, enabling, and motivating employees, channel partners, and customers. Maritz provides market and customer research, communications, learning solutions, incentive initiatives, meetings and event management, rewards and recognition, travel management services, and customer loyalty programs. For more information, visit or contact us at 1-877-4MARITZ.

CONTACT: Jennifer Larsen of Maritz Inc., +1-626-827-1523, Jennifer.larsen@maritz.com; or Amber Morris of Standing Partnership,+1-314-469-3500, , for Maritz Inc.

Web site: http://www.maritz.com/