We read constantly of the changes in buyer behaviour and for most of us in the Marketing world, especially Digital Marketers, we see it happening. However, this past week I had my 15-year-old niece and a girlfriend visiting for the Easter school holidays. They’re from Adelaide, South Australia. Over this past week, I’ve seen first hand the way the next generation buys. Granted with a little influence from their seasoned Uncle Derek who is a pretty good shopper.


What did I see?

The key thing I noticed was the use of social media during the shopping process and the perception of what constituted a bargain. One of the key differences for these 15-year-old Adelaide shoppers was the range and options available to them in Sydney as against Adelaide. At no stage did we discuss online shopping, this may come in the next few years. Both girls have part-time jobs and saved their money for this Sydney holiday.

The use of Social Media was more about sharing their purchases with friends. This included sharing of photo’s taken at various Sydney tourist spots – wearing their new clothes and of course making sure friends at home saw these images. My niece has 13,000+ followers on Twitter. As her uncle, that makes me a little nervous!

What did I learn?

I learnt a few things. All the research about kids abandoning email is true. My niece has an email account, but this is only because her parents have their own business and each of the kids have a work email address – not that they work in private investigation like their parents. However, my nieces girlfriend doesn’t use email, even though she has at least five email accounts. We took many photo’s while they were here, the preference was that I “message” them to her via Facebook.

There’s been a lot of press over the past six months about kids abandoning Facebook as their parents and grandparents login and invade their space. Besides their Facebook use, my niece and her girlfriend use a range of other social media properties to engage with friends. There’s Twitter, with 13,000+ followers my niece has an audience who obviously want to hear from her! In addition she blogs on Tumblr. She’s even developed HTML skills in the process – I found that interesting.

Teenage Shopping

What will I change?

I’m not sure I will change much about what I do, 90% of my time is spent in the B2B space, so retail is a little out of my area of focus. However, I would certainly encourage my clients to focus their time on social media if they have a teenage target market. My 17-year-old nephew and a school mate are coming to stay in 2 weeks – it will be curious to watch their social media behaviour and see how it differs from 15-year-old girls.