August 10, 2007, 12:00 AM

Don’t try to reach Gen Y via text messages, says a new survey

65% of consumers 18 to 30 years old say they are unlikely to or would definitely not subscribe to offers solicited via cell phone or PDA.

More than two-thirds-69%-of consumers 18 to 30 years old send as many as 10 text messages a day via their cell phones. But nearly the same proportion-65%-say they are unlikely to or would definitely not subscribe to offers solicited via cell phone or PDA. That’s the result of a poll of so-called Generation Y consumers by consumer research company Maritz Research on how such consumers use online venues and text messaging to interact with specialty apparel retailers.

Only 5% of that group currently subscribe to offers via text, Maritz says.

"Text messaging seems to be popular for personal matters, not as an advertising or promotion tool for retailers," says Gloria Park Bartolone, division vice president, Maritz Research`s Retail Group. "While there is growing retailer interest in mobile marketing, this tells us retailers need to be relevant to this audience to make it an effective channel to communicate."

Because 18- to 30-year-olds aren’t responsive to text message promotions, Maritz looked into how retailers could reach them. 48% said they belong to an online group hosted by a retailer, 26% have posted an online review for a product or specific retailer, and 67% use online reviews as a source when making purchasing decisions.

"Online groups are multiplying exponentially every day and Gen Yers continue to sign up for them," Bartolone says. "In addition to providing a community that Gen Y shoppers want to be a part of, online groups are an excellent way for a retailer to capture valuable information about these current or potential customers."

In addition, that generation is open to blogs. 22% said they have mentioned products or retailers in a personal blog and 21% said they have used other blogs as a resource on purchasing decisions.

"Because peer opinions are extremely important to Generation Y, they`re likely to take online reviews posted by their peers to heart," Bartolone says. "Retailers should pay close attention to blogs and online reviews mentioning their products and brand and consider fixing problems that repeatedly come up. Retailers need to show Gen Y they are listening."

Maritz Research polled 1,062 randomly selected adults throughout the United States who had shopped at Abercrombie & Fitch, Aeropostale, American Eagle Outfitters, Express or The Gap in the 90 days prior to the survey.

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