My wife has just bought a new car. We made a shortlist and test-drove three, but the early front-runner was the one that her friend Bernie drives and recommended. And so it came to pass that that she bought the same car as Bernie has. It’s a great car incidentally – but without Bernie’s recommendation, it is unlikely that my wife would have considered it.
I thought of Bernie when I read an Adweek article about a survey carried out by the USA-based ‘Ladies’ Home Journal’ on the ways in which women influence others’ purchases. Adweek published an interesting infographic on the survey.
The importance of peer influence to decision-making come as no surprise – these are broadly in line with Idiro’s own empirical research and with most published studies, including Nielsen’s annual survey on trust in advertising. Interestingly,t he list of purchases that are most influenced by peers includes low-priced and much higher-priced items – note that automobiles come in at #4.
More controversial is the finding that ‘peer influence is age-agnostic’. Most studies agree that closeness of age is a driver of peer influence – the closer the parties are in age, the more likely they are to influence each other, which makes sense. Idiro’s own empirical research finds that similarity of age is a significant determinant of influence. However, unlike Idiro’s research, this survey measures perceived influence not the actual purchases, which may account for the difference.
Though this survey is USA-based, Idiro’s experience (and the latest Nielsen global advertising survey) suggests that results would be broadly similar in other countries. It would be interesting to replicate this survey among men – doubtless the detailed results would be different, though the level of influence would be doubtless be fairly strong.
Postscript 16th May: this research from Nielsen India breaks down the stated influence on car purchase between spouse, family members, friends and colleagues (see graphic below).