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Forget Peers—Prices Have the Most Influence on Young UK Consumers’ Purchases

More than two in five UK youths showroom

Peer pressure has little influence on the purchase decisions of young consumers in the UK. In a study conducted in late 2013 by UM London in partnership with The Student Room, friends had a significantly small influence on the buying decisions of UK students (those ages 15 to 21). Instead, price was the biggest purchase driver by far, cited by nearly half of respondents. This is likely due to younger consumers’ limited income compared with older generations.

Because of younger consumers’ focus on price, 43% of students in the survey had showroomed—that is, looked at an item in-store, but then searched for a better price online and bought there. This was most common for DVDs, books, electronics and video games.

Showrooming isn’t just spreading among younger consumers—it’s becoming a majority activity in the UK. September 2013 research by Firefish for the UK’s Internet Advertising Bureau found that two-thirds of UK smartphone owners had researched an item online, then viewed it in-store, and then bought it digitally.

In addition, more than half of respondents had looked at items in-store, but usually purchased them online. Such behavior indicates that consumers want to check out items in a physical store to see the quality and what it looks like up close, but they then turn to digital channels to find lower prices before clicking the “Buy” button.

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