Millennial deal hunters prefer email over social

Study finds personalized pitches work best

Social media may be the preferred method of communication of Millennials, but this tech-savvy generation doesn’t turn to its digital networks for deals.

A report from and research firm Bovitz, "Uncovering Truths of Millennial Spending," found Millennials largely relied on email offers for their discount shopping needs and preferred those pitches to be personalized.

Examining how Millennials find product sales and discounts, conducted a comparative study among the three prominent age groups: Millennials, Generation X and Baby Boomers. Unsurprisingly, the study found that older consumers were less likely to use technology to find discounts than Millennials.

In fact, ever-frugal Millennials went out of their way to find the best discounts through digital channels, preferring email offers and coupon-code websites to social media. The 18- to 34-year-old demographic was also lured to discounts via personalized recommendations sent to them digitally and through mobile devices, said Seth Marlatt, vice president of analytics and research at

Millennials responded best to customized notifications based on past purchases, Marlatt said, and those messages, the study found, helped get them into the store. "It was super surprising to us to find that the Millennial generation is really interested in walking into a store and engaging with products," he said. "It helped us understand that on that journey to buy the product, they want to make sure that the offer is personalized to them."

Those personalized pitches also inspired repeat purchases, added Marlatt, whether Millennials were shopping in store or online.

The report surveyed 2,000 people this past June, asking participants which digital sources they had used over the past six months to access or find coupons and coupon codes, among other sales-finding options online. Nearly half of those surveyed, 49%, were Millennials, 26% were Gen Xers (ages 35 to 50) and 25% were Baby Boomers (ages 51 to 69).

The survey showed 42% of the Millennials got their coupon and discount notifications through email, compared to 23% who found them on social media channels like Facebook and Twitter. Coupon code sites (39%), mobile apps (36%), and internet searches (32%) all ranked higher than social media.

Still, Marlatt noted social media should never be taken out of the equation of a brand’s marketing strategy and said it helped consumers get discount offers through digital notifications, like SMS and emails. "The Millennial generation wants to share offers, so social media adds to that," Marlatt said.

Overall, the younger the generation, the study found, the more likely they were to use digital channels to find discounts and coupons. Thirty-six percent of the Gen Xers got their discounts via email and 14% through social media, while 28% of the Baby Boomers got their coupons through email and 8% from social media.

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