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How Audience Age Affects Global Purchasing Habits

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Survey of Millennials across 10 countries finds that while this generation may have a higher tolerance for non-native language products and websites, 74% prefer post-sales information in their native language

November 5, 2015) – The generation born between 1980 and 2000 continues to capture the attention of marketers, economists, and sociologists around the world. Independent market research firm Common Sense Advisory (CSA Research) recently analyzed the online language behaviors and preferences of this Millennial generation, as well as the three generations that precede them, in 10 non-English-speaking countries. The goal: to determine whether this group behaves any differently from their older counterparts when they encounter non-native language products and websites. To accomplish this, the firm made detailed comparisons between Millennials, Gen-X, Mid- Century, and older generations. The study was based on a survey of more than 3,000 global consumers in in Europe, Asia, and South America. The results are detailed in the report: “Millennials Around the Globe: How Audience Age Affects Global Content Strategy.”

The 10-nation survey, which included Brazil, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Russia, Spain, and Turkey, was conducted in the official language of each country. Specifically, the research assessed online language preferences and their subsequent impact on purchasing decisions. Factors including nationality, English-language proficiency, global brand recognition, and the ability to conduct transactions in local currencies were included in the study.  

Data from the survey shows that Millennials are more tolerant of English-language content than older generations. However, in most cases, the majority of 18-to-35-year-olds follows the lead of the entire survey sample and favor content in their own language. These findings are consistent with those from CSA Research’s 2014 study, in which the firm found that even the most confident in their English-language skills prefer their local language when it comes to researching and buying goods and services online.

CSA Research Chief Strategy Officer and lead report analyst Don DePalma states the findings of this study have great significance to global businesses. “A person’s age is one of the many variables that companies can factor into their marketing plans and customer experiences. This report gives them solid data that they can use to tailor their content strategy to the behaviors and preferences of different generations across a range of countries on four continents.”

Some additional findings detailed in the report include:

  • Across the 10-country sample, most respondents prefer some translated content rather than none. Millennials from Japan are the most likely to appreciate the benefits of having mixed languages on sites (77% agree or strongly agree) versus having no information in their own language. The Germans are least likely to favor this partial solution to localization at 53%.
  • Global brands trump language, causing buyers to choose well-known products or services that haven’t been localized over those with information in their own language. Millennials are 29% more likely than Gen-X and 55% more likely than Mid- Century respondents to prefer global brands over localized ones. Egyptians constitute the nationality that is most infatuated with global brands.
  • Language becomes indispensable after the sale. Seventy-four percent (74%) of Millennials agreed or strongly agreed that it should be available in their language.

“Considering the data from our survey, there should be no question about localizing your website, products, and product information if you want to sell more goods or services to global customers,” concludes DePalma. “Localization improves the customer experience and increases engagement in the brand dialogue, regardless of the consumer’s age.”

The reports are published as part of the firm’s research membership. For more information, visit or contact

About Common Sense Advisory

Common Sense Advisory (CSA Research) is an independent market research company helping companies profitably grow their international businesses and gain access to new markets. It specializes in best practices for translation, localization, interpreting, globalization, and internationalization.

Tweet: @CSA_Research findings show (globally) 74% of Millenials prefer post-sales information in their native language


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