- The shopping habits of older millennials differ from those of younger millennials in subtle but significant ways, according to a new study by Coresight Research. Younger millennials — defined by Coresight as millennial consumers under age 30 — tend to shop at mass merchandisers and spend money on wellbeing and fitness products. These younger millennials are often known to be price conscious and prioritize healthy eating.
- Millennials over the age of 30, meanwhile, are more likely to be bargain shoppers because they were hit the hardest by the 2007-2009 Great Recession, yet shop at traditional grocery stores and are more likely to shop online for groceries. The report characterizes them as “sensible, settled and digital shoppers."
- Across the board, millennials are also more likely to spend time on food preparation, according to a December 2017 USDA report cited by Coresight. The demographic spends an average of 88 minutes on cooking compared to 143 minutes spent by Gen X consumers.
Millennials’ shopping habits and tastes have made a huge impact on the grocery industry considering they represent 22% of the total U.S. population and the largest part of the labor force, according to the Pew Research Center. But as Coresight notes, the demographic covers a wide age range, with either end in dramatically different life stages.
Older millennials are more likely to have families and higher bills, and entered the workforce during the Great Recession. These shoppers are more likely to clip coupons and look for deals than the younger half of the generation. A 2017 survey by CouponFollow, which tracks coupon usage online, found that 84% of millennials say they use coupon codes while online shopping.
Although e-commerce sales only account for 2.7% of all food and beverage retail sales in the U.S. this year, it resonates with older millennials more than any other consumer group. According to Coresight's data, 28.3% of consumers age 30 to 44 shopped for groceries online at least once over the past year, compared to 21% of consumers age 18 to 29.
Having children, Coresight notes, is a significant driver of online sales and explains its resonance with older millennials. However, retailers should take care to track younger millennial consumers as they start families and their earning power increases.
"As younger millennials continue to establish households, build families and grow incomes, they are joining their older counterparts in driving growth in the e-commerce channel," Coresight noted in its report.
Across the board, millennials value convenience and are turning to digital channels to meet that need. They're more likely to use a smartphone at some point in the shopping journey, Coresight notes. Target's Cartwheel app, Kroger's EDGE digital shelves and OptUp health app, and Walmart's recent voice-activated shopping tool are examples of how retailers have integrated digital innovation with stores. A recent study from Retail Feedback Group found that more than 63% of shoppers interact with a supermarket digitally and that number is continuing to increase.
However, Coresight's data indicates millennials with children use their phones much more in stores than those without. Seventy-three percent of millennials with children say they use digital coupons while in store, compared to just 57% of those without children. Also among millennials with children, 77% say they look up recipes in-store and 64% say they read product reviews, compared to 53% and 34%, respectively, among millennials without children.