They'd rather browse than buy.
That, at least, is the word from 14-to- 34-year-olds surveyed by The Intelligence Group, a youth-focused research firm, for its quarterly Cassandra Report.
This is the kind of stuff that drives retailers absolutely crazy. The report finds that young folks, increasingly, find the act of researching and browsing for a purchase far more compelling than the purchase itself.
"Millennials are forcing tectonic shifts in purchasing patterns," says Joe Kessler, president of the Intelligence Group. One-third of respondents said that browsing for items is actually more "fun" than purchasing them. And nearly half of those surveyed said they regularly browse for items that they don't necessarily plan on buying. Essentially, e-commerce has become "its own form of entertainment," the report, which surveyed 1,300 14-to-34-year-olds concludes.
What to call such behavior? Well, retailers call it frustrating. But the Intelligence Group has dubbed it "Fauxsumerism."
Ah, but there is a ray of light for retailers. Some 40% of young consumers said that while they are browsing, they also are making "wish lists" of products they want to buy.
But even then, they don't necessarily want to own. Some 35% of respondents said they'd rather pay full price to access an item only when they need it as opposed to actually owning it. Call them "NOowners." They prize access over ownership and prefer renting, sharing and bartering above buying things.
"Marketers need to shift their mindset," says Jamie Gutfreund, chief strategy officer at the Intelligence Group.
Out: Return on Investment. In: Return on Relationship.