Millennial and Gen Z Omnishoppers: It’s About Experiences, Values & Solutions

Filed Under: Shopper, Food & Beverage, Grocery


Kathleen Blum

Vice President, Shopper Insights Research

At C+R Research, our Generations division is constantly keeping a pulse on two important cohorts of this time – Millennials and Gen Z.  And, as the head of shopper research here at C+R Research, I spend much of my time researching, understanding, and interpreting shopper behaviors. The recent Supermarket News article by Chelsey Capps, Cut Through the Noise: 3 Tips for Attracting Millennial and Gen Z Shoppers, highlights crucial insights about these two cohorts and why they shouldn’t be ignored— because their shopping habits hold valuable implications for brands, and here’s why:

  1. Expanding Shopping Channels and Preferences. The modern grocery landscape is vastly different. Gone are the days when the primary answer to “Where do you shop?” was a “traditional grocery store.” The diversified options—mass, club, dollar, online—signify a need for brands to spread their presence and strategize according to the channel. The fact that younger consumers, making up 43% of US shoppers, visit seven retail banners monthly for groceries proves that the pie has expanded, but the slices have thinned. Brands must ensure they have a dominant presence wherever these shoppers decide to purchase, including digital which is becoming the new normal.
  2. A Shift Towards Convenience & Variety. As we have seen in our own experience, all generations, including Millennials and Gen Z, are characterized by their busy lifestyles, and how they prioritize convenience and variety. Their inclination towards channels offering a one-stop shopping experience suggests brands must cater to diverse needs. Consistent inventory, meeting lifestyle expectations, and offering innovative solutions will play a role in how they determine their brand preference.
  3. Private Brands as Innovation Catalysts. The increasing affinity of Gen Z and Millennial shoppers towards private brands, especially when they perceive them as innovators, is a wake-up call for national brands. Brands must ensure they have a dominant presence wherever these shoppers are purchasing.
  4. Embracing Flavor Innovation. One of the most exciting revelations from Capps’s piece is the appetite for bold and innovative flavors among younger shoppers. Brands have an opportunity to keep these shoppers engaged with dynamic flavor profiles and limited-time offerings. The thrill of discovery can be a potent tool to foster loyalty.
  5. Digital Is the New Normal. To attract these digital native shoppers, retailers must use technology to enhance the entire shopping journey, including online and in-store experiences, payment options like buy-now/pay-later, and aligning their social media presence. And, Millennial shoppers rely heavily on online shopping, with click-and-collect being a popular choice for their busy lifestyles.
  6. The Power of Social Media. With the undeniable influence of platforms like TikTok and Instagram, brands have an open playground to engage, inform, and entertain. Working with influencers, creating trend-driven content, and leveraging private brands can be pivotal in securing the younger shopper’s loyalty.

Capturing the loyalty and interest of Millennial and Gen Z shoppers isn’t just about offering products—it’s about providing experiences, values, and solutions. As the retail landscape evolves, brands that can authentically connect with these shoppers’ unique preferences and lifestyles will emerge as winners.

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