NetBase Retail Report: Millennials Don’t See Facebook as the Top Source of Inspiration for Fashion Purchases

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. – November 13, 2013 – NetBase, the Social Intelligence Company, today announced a retail report revealing the social platforms that influence fashion buying decisions of women in the Millennial Generation. Based on a study of 1,005 women across the United States with profiles on at least one social network, NetBase found that 28 percent of the female Millennials (18–24 years old) surveyed are influenced by the brands and products their friends use and 24 percent are willing to pay a higher price to be first to have a new product. Blogs and message boards are the most frequently cited source of inspiration, ahead of Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Key Survey Findings

Buying Behaviors

  • Eighty-three percent of 18–24 year olds say they consult at least one social platform before purchasing in at least one fashion category (categories studied include apparel (casual, career/office, active/fitness, and special occasion), footwear (casual, career/office, active/fitness, and special occasion), cosmetics, accessories (costume jewelry, scarves, belts, etc.), and fine jewelry.
  • Twenty-eight percent are “social shoppers”—social networking women whose buying decisions are influenced by the brands and products their friends use. Millennials are almost twice as likely to be social shoppers as female social media users of all ages.

Fashion Attitudes

  • Nearly one-quarter (24 percent) of female Millennials are “trendsetters”—social network users who say they are willing to pay a higher price to be the first to have a new product, compared to 15 percent of all female social media users.
  • Although shopping is an important free time activity for 80 percent of Millennials, they are no more likely than social networking women older than 24 to view fashion and beauty as something very important to them.

Influential Sources

  • Of all sources studied, fashion blogs and message boardshold more influence over Millennials than Pinterest or Facebook across all fashion categories.
    • 63 percent of Millennials look to fashion blogs and message boards for inspiration in at least one fashion category
    • 58 percent of Millennials look to Pinterest for inspiration in at least one fashion category
    • 54 percent look to Facebook for inspiration in at least one fashion category
    • 49 percent look to Instagram
    • Fashion blogs and message boards are strongest with respect to cosmetics (36 percent), special occasion clothing (34 percent), casual clothing (34 percent), and accessories (33 percent).
    • Pinterest is strongest for accessories (34 percent), special occasion clothing (32 percent), and casual clothing (32 percent).
    • Facebook’s role in inspiring Millennials’ fashion purchases is strongest with respect to casual clothing (30 percent of Millennials look to it for inspiration) and accessories such as costume jewelry, scarves, belts, etc. (25 percent).
    • Instagram is strongest for accessories (27%), casual clothing (26%), cosmetics (23%), and special occasion footwear (22%).

“Millennials represent the biggest source of future buying power for fashion brands, and this report confirms the influence social media plays in their decision making process,” said Gretchen Hoffman, vice president of marketing for NetBase. “The necessity of accurate data for understanding specific consumer segments is critical in crafting intelligent social marketing strategies that take into account their distinctive behaviors in consulting social media.”

The full report titled, “Social Channels of Influence for the Millennial Generation: A Consumer Study in the Fashion Industry,” can be downloaded here.


To understand how social media influences women’s fashion purchases, NetBase commissioned Edison Research to survey a representative sample of women over 18 years of age in the United States who have a profile on or more social networks. The sample of 1,005 women was collected in May 2013 and is weighted to the national U.S. population of adult female social media users. It includes 174 Millennials, social networking women 18–24 years old.

About NetBase

NetBase delivers the social intelligence that global brands and agencies use to publish, monitor, analyze and engage with customers in real time. Using a high-precision natural language processing (NLP) engine our platform processes billions of social media posts to extract structured insights delivered via customizable dashboards. Our solutions enable digital marketing, public relations, brand management, customer service, sales, and product innovation leaders to craft winning strategies faster. Clients include Coca-Cola, Kraft, Kenneth Cole, Estee Lauder, ESPN, McCann Erickson and Yum! Brands. NetBase solutions are sold globally by SAP AG and J.D. Power & Associates. For more information, visit www.netbase.com@NetBase, on FacebookLinkedIn, or YouTube.

About Edison Research

Edison Research conducts market research and exit polling, providing strategic information for businesses and media organizations worldwide. With an expertise in both quantitative and qualitative research, Edison works with many established corporations looking to keep their edge or expand, as well as young companies just starting to develop their businesses. Edison offers expertise in telephone, Internet and in-person research as well as focus groups and dial testing. Edison Research has been the sole provider of exit poll information to the six major news organizations – ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, NBC and the Associated Press – since 2003. Edison has conducted exit polls and collected precinct vote returns to project and analyze results for every major primary and the general election from 2004 to the present, including the recent 2012 Presidential election.