SNEWS Youth Team: Buying motivation

Everybody wants to know what influences and motivates millennials to open their wallets. So we asked our SNEWS Youth Advisory & Reporting Team (YART) and a few Outdoor Nation (ON) Ambassadors for a short story in our SNEWS Winter 2011 magazine to tell us what affects their decisions about products or brands. Here you’ll read expanded answers.

Checkout this expanded magazine Web Extra on what influences youth buying decisions. It is based on our summary story on Page 9 in the SNEWS Winter 2011 issue. To download the full magazine as of February 2011, go to

Everybody wants to know what influences and motivates millennials to open their wallets. So we asked our SNEWS Youth Advisory & Reporting Team (YART) and a few Outdoor Nation (ON) Ambassadors to tell us what affects their decisions about products or brands. Neither price nor environment is first. In fact, function, quality and durability are tops. In their words:

“My decisions on equipment purchases balance trust in the product versus the price. The more I trust that a brand is safe and lasts a long time, the more I am willing to pay.” – Stefanie Michaelson, Salt Lake City, Utah (ON)

“Quality of materials that result in a product that lasts is far more important than cutting weight. Products that last are worth their price. Cost is an issue, but I always spring for quality and workmanship.” --Marshall Alford, Denver, Colo. (ON)

“Price first, function second. Money is tight for most young people and gear is not cheap. I want to find the most affordable item that will also last the longest. Yes, I'm attracted to my favorite colors, but I won't make a purchase based solely on appearance. The quality I look for the most is versatility. I want a cold weather jacket to wear on mountain peaks, but one that also has a removable liner, so I can wear it when I walk to class in the rain. If it's a two-for-one item, it's for me.” – Audrey Goss, Floral Park, N.Y. (YART/ON)

“A few main things come to mind when I decide what product to purchase for my outdoor activities. In priority, the first thing is brand quality and performance. Does this brand have a solid reputation for being the best stuff on the market? Do the top professionals prefer this brand? Second is grassroots and environmental awareness. Does this company support local outdoors clubs and youth in the outdoors? Does this company use sustainable methods for production? Third would have to be availability. Is this product easily found at the local outdoors store near my house? If it’s not, it tends to be really hard to see/feel/decide if the product is really worth getting.” --Nitish Nag, Union City, Calif. (YART/ON)

“Sadly, I guess, environmental ethics aren’t my first concern. Rather, I'm more focused on performance. Much of the gear I buy is, at one point in time, responsible for my life. I'm not going to buy carabineers that have a history of failing at only 10 or so kilo-newtons. Nor would I waste my time with skis prone to delaminating. Good gear is paramount to good backcountry health.” --Daniel Schwartz, Johnson, Vt. (YART)

“My choice is based on product versatility and multi-purpose application. As a young person, my budget and storage space is really tight, so I want to make sure the combination of all the products that I own are the most efficient for the range of activities I'm engaged in. Less is more, so I will buy the most all-around most efficient, best made products for my lifestyle pretty much regardless of cost. For example, if possible I stick to products that I feel are relevant to backpacking AND car camping AND day hiking. At the same time, products shouldn't try to be everything to everybody. In doing that they may lose their purpose. As for brands, I appreciate peer reviews and consensus on a product's quality and usefulness.” --Elizabeth O. Hurst, Washington, D.C. (YART)

“The biggest thing that determines whether or not I will purchase or stick with a brand is feel. If I don’t notice my equipment and am able to push the limits every day that I use it, it's functioning properly. The next is look—if it doesn’t look cool, it’s a really tough sell.” --Anthony Shaheen, Charlotte, N.C. (YART/ON)

“I would consider myself brand neutral, so when it comes to purchasing gear I rate products based on price, fit of the gear, colors offered (the brighter, the better) and, lastly, other user's recommendations.” -- Kris Barnes, Salt Lake City, Utah (ON)

The SNEWS Youth Advisory & Reporting Team was founded over the summer of 2010 with the goal to give the youth a chance to explore writing, photography, videography, editing and other journalistic endeavors while also using those avenues to reach out to and influence more youth.

To find out more about the SNEWS Youth Team and download an application, go to To find out more about sponsorships or other participation, email

--Therese Iknoian

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