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The New Consumer: Millennials seek easy savings

The New Consumer: Millennials seek easy savings

This is part of a series of IdeaXchanges and other SN articles describing the Millennial Revolution's impact on the food distribution industry.  Craig Rosenblum co-authored this article with John Ross (right), Inmar’s president, promotion network, who has 20+ years of retail, data science and marketing experience.

Millennials now make up more than one-quarter of the nation’s population and outnumber Baby Boomers by more than 10%. It’s a historical change with tremendous implications for retailers, category managers and brand managers — demanding they deepen their understanding of Millennials and this consumer segment’s unique shopping and saving behavior.

Millennials are lead adopters of digital coupons but seek convenient savings.
Millennials are lead adopters of digital coupons but seek convenient savings.

Besides growing larger, Millennials are also growing up. They’re building careers, buying homes and having children. Undeniably the most connected shoppers in history, Millennials are characterized by their technological savvy, desire for convenience and their “all about me” mentality. They have already impacted the marketplace like no other generation has before — proving to be the primary catalysts for the deployment of omnichannel marketing — and they are literally redefining food retailing.

Recent research from Willard Bishop, an Inmar Analytics company, points to Millennials’ focus on natural and organic goods, as well as their aversion to preservatives, changing grocery retailing from the center store out. Their frugal nature, driven in part by life stage, is also fueling new formats such as limited assortment and extreme value stores. It is this newly spotlighted fiscal conservatism that has marketers reevaluating their go-to-market and promotion strategies.

Inmar Analytics, in its 2016 Shopper Behavior Study, looked at Millennials' shopping habits and behaviors to evaluate their wants, needs and desires as they relate to the shopping experience.

Millennials want the right mix of savings and convenience.

Demonstrating less patience than their elders, 53% of Millennials (versus 39% of older shoppers) say it takes too much time to find coupons. More than 70% of Millennials say they would use coupons more if there were more available online — compared with 59% of older shoppers.

In addition to wanting easy access, Millennials want coupons to be easier to use. Fifty-two percent of Millennials say there are too many rules to using coupons as opposed to 44% of older shoppers, who feel the same. Millennials are very interested in saving money but they don’t want to work too hard for their savings.

Millennials want promotions integrated into their regular use of technology.

Given their want for convenience and their “device dependence,” it’s not surprising that Millennials expect to see coupons fully integrated into their devices of choice. Sixty-four percent of Millennials want coupons sent to their mobile phones for products they normally buy and 68% would like to be able to present coupons to the cashier using their smartphone.

Millennials are highly engaged with promotion.

Millennials are pursuing coupons aggressively — on average, using 5.7 methods to discover/acquire coupons as compared with the 4.1 methods used by older shoppers. Their use of multiple methods incorporates significant technology and, as a result, Millennials are the leading adopters of digital coupons — with 71% having used a computer or mobile device to digitally “clip” a coupon. That said, older shoppers are growing increasingly comfortable with digital offers, as 62% of these shoppers have acquired a coupon online.  

This promotion activity means Millennials are engaging not only with coupons but also with brands. As such, they expect brands to deliver relevant content beyond coupons. Forty-four percent of Millennials want retailers to send them recipes along with coupons. Only 29% of older shoppers have the same desire. Millennials are also looking for engagement during their time in store with 53% interested in having brands and retailers deliver content to them based on where they are in the store, compared with 30% of older shoppers.

Coupons directly impact Millennials’ shopping behavior.

The most recent Shopper Promotion Impact Report from Inmar Analytics indicates that coupons significantly drive Millennials’ shopping behavior.

According to the report, which 25% of coupons used by Millennials were a catalyst for trial compared to 15% of coupons used by older shoppers.


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At the same time, 71% of coupons used by Millennials changed purchase behavior — leading them to either 1) purchase the product sooner, 2) buy more of the promoted product, 3) purchase the product for the first time, 4) buy a brand they would not have otherwise purchased or 5) purchase an alternative product within a normally purchased brand.

Nearly all brands have a significant amount of revenue dependent upon successfully engaging and converting Millennials. Long-term brand viability and retailer loyalty will require even greater insights into the shopping behaviors of the Millennial, particularly their desire for “convenient savings.” 

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