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The Influence of Social Media on Millennials? Purchase Intention and Loyalty to Luxury Brands
Chapter One: Introduction
Marketing entails the deployment of several tools with the main purpose of capturing a brand?s target market. Another critical function of marketing is the goal to identify the best and the most profitable audience and the right tools to use to target this audience. It is for this reason that there has been an immense focus on Millennials, considering that they have the highest purchasing power of all generations and this will remain a key factor over the next few decades (Yoon and Chung, 2018). A key characteristic of this generation, aside from their immense purchasing power is the generation?s affinity to social media. Millennials have been the drivers of the technological revolution. However, their contribution goes far beyond innovations in technology because they have contributed to the evolution of social media from its original use as a medium of communication to what it is now, a virtual world, which has changed how information and messages are conveyed (Viljoen et al., 2018). The development of social media as a virtual world has also had significant implications as interactions have taken the shape of social interactions in the physical world since users have the opportunity to share knowledge, information and experiences of brands and this then brought about new dimensions to marketing as the integration of social media and marketing became inevitable. With the integration of marketing and social media, the need to understand how social media influences purchasing intentions and brand loyalty is crucial. This understanding creates an opportunity for marketers to survey how their target market interacts with the brand on social media, and the influence that a brand?s community may have on influencing other members of the target market to engage with the brand. This provides a solution or one of the biggest challenges for practitioners in the marketing field as it allows them to understand the complexities around consumer behaviour.
One of the most prevalent characteristics of consumers both in the physical and virtual worlds is that the belief that word of mouth is the most reliable source of information. Huete-Alcocer (2017) posits that resultantly, factors such as user experience, product reviews, and suggestions would have a significant impact on consumer perception and the widespread use of social media has precipitated the spread of electronic word of mouth with opinion leaders using sources such as blogs sharing sites, such as Quora to pass on these messages and this allows consumers to find information about the products or services they intend to purchase. In China, the reality of social media users as opinion leaders is even greater considering that there are a staggering 882 million people that use social media. In this context, understanding how social media influences the purchasing intention of Millennials, specifically for luxury brands, will provide useful insight to marketers on how best they can leverage these sites for their benefit.