Millennials are Least Likely to Respond to Recall Notifications

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Sept. 27, 2017—Millennials are the least likely among the U.S. population to say they respond positively to product recall notices, according to new research commissioned by Stericycle Expert Solutions.

Ratchet+Wrench has written several times on how to take advantage of vehicle recalls, including this story from our August issue.

A consumer survey of over 1,000 Americans found that most claim to comply with recall notices for food, pharmaceuticals, motor vehicles, and consumer electronics. However, the study also showed that millennials (age 18-34) are the least compliant across all age groups.

In fact, compared to baby boomers (age 55+), millennials are twice as likely to say they usually ignore recall notices (18 percent vs. 6 percent), after reading it; typically throw it in the trash (36 percent vs. 16 percent); and consider recall notices "not serious" (33 percent vs. 21 percent).

The findings suggest that in order to capitalize on recalls, businesses may need to rethink their communication strategies with this demographic to improve compliance rates.

Surprisingly, millennials ranked recalls of consumer electronic products least important, but agreed with their fellow Americans that food and pharmaceutical recalls are most important, with nearly 70 percent of all respondents ranking these recall categories first or second in order of importance. Millennials also ranked last in acting on product recalls for motor vehicles, food, and pharmaceuticals.

"It's a trend that needs to be reversed because millennials are now the largest living American generation and will drive the greatest percentage of product purchases in the near future," said Michael Good, vice president of marketing and sales operations, Stericycle Expert Solutions. "This research shows that product recalls are as much a communications challenge as they are a logistical one. The lesson for both regulatory bodies and product manufacturers is to make recall compliance easier and more relevant to this generation."

In fact, the survey found that personal relevance—or lack thereof—was a key driver of recall non-compliance. Approximately 70 percent of respondents said they judge recall notices based on whether they think they are personally at risk. And more than one-quarter (26 percent) believe that recall notices are not serious and are sent mainly out of legal obligation.

For car owners, more than one-third of respondents say they have never received a recall notice for a motor vehicle.

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