Millennial Consumer Behavior with Mobile Technology

Colleen Twomey, Dina Vees, Ashley Boehmer, and Jessica Dimulas, California Polytechnic State University

Millennial consumers’ drive to purchase goods.  The study was conducted in Germany, Czech Republic,

Austria, and France, and will be executed in the US during the fall quarter of 2018 at Cal Poly. Specifically, knowledge will be gained to determine whether or not:

  • Millennials in the US and Europe will take the time to download Apps to experience interactivity
  • Millennials in the US and Europe prefer AR over QR codes
  • Millennials in the US and Europe prefer NFC over AR
  • Interactive packaging drives a purchase
  • There are differences in Millennial behavior between the US and Europe

Background: Now, more than ever, brands are vying to capture the attention of the largest population in the US, the Millennials. Millennials are people born between 1979 and 1994, and thanks to immigration, this demographic has surpassed the baby boomers in total population in 2010. It is well known that Millennials are closely tied to their mobile devices – checking them on average 41 times a day. They use social media heavily and enjoy new experiences.  However, the link between Millennial use of mobile technology and interacting with packaged goods (in this case a beverage) to a purchase has yet to be established.

A fictitious brand of energy drinks was created with different levels of interactivity on the shrink sleeve label, as research indicates that 70% of Millennials drink energy drinks, so this is a consumer item in which they are familiar. Consumers were shown cans that had different interactive technologies associated with them: no interactivity, a QR code (that linked to a website), an NFC chip (which linked to the same web site with a video), and Augmented Reality (that showed an animated experience of the energy drink). The subjects were asked a series of survey questions to collect data to determine if any of the interactions with the packaging and mobile device would drive them to purchase, and to gauge their preference with the interactive technology.

The results of this study will have bearing on Consumer Goods Companies’ focus on interactive packaging and the relevancy to drive consumers, specifically Millennials, to a purchase.

Dina Vees joined the faculty of California Polytechnic State University in 2016 as an Assistant Professor in Graphic Communication under the College of Liberal Arts. She is also the advisor for University Graphic Systems, a student run print service provider located in the department. She taught Printing and Publishing at Waukesha County Technical College for 19 years prior to joining Cal Poly. Her industry experience is in prepress. Dina is also the treasurer for Graphic Communication Educators Association (GCEA).