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The New Consumer: What Gen Y wants  from online grocery

The New Consumer: What Gen Y wants from online grocery

This is part of a series of IdeaXchanges and other SN articles describing the Millennial Revolution's impact on the food distribution industry.  SN's The New Consumer conference in September will focus on attracting and retaining Milliennial shoppers

​Millennials are leading the way in defining a great online grocery experience, but it’s not always easy to understand what they want. At Brick Meets Click, we just completed a survey of more than 12,000 grocery shoppers across the US, and it showed that compared to other grocery shoppers Millennials were:

• More likely to have tried online grocery shopping — no surprise.

• Less likely to be regular active online grocery shoppers — a little surprising.

Different ages, different needs

Millennials want to easily communicate with food retailers via their mobile device.
Millennials want to easily communicate with food retailers via their mobile device.

Digging into this, it became clear that there were actually three distinct groups of Millennials, each with different needs.

Young Millennials (18-22) are for the most part still quite dependent on their parents for support, whether they may be going to college or even working. Their income is limited, but they are also comfortable indulging themselves for items that are important to them. This group lives on their mobile phone and sets a high bar for digital experience.

Middle Millennials (23-27) live more independently, moving from college or from their parents’ home to a job. They’re learning to run their own households. These Millennials:

• Research purchases online before they buy and, as a result, are very aware of prices and opportunities to save.

• Seek out guidance on what to buy and how to prepare and/or serve it.

• Choose stores and retailers based on how much help they get in these areas.

Older Millennials (28–34) have often started a family, gotten married or at least established their own household. Their busy schedules can mean that time is more limited than money, but price is still important. They are interested in learning how they can live the lifestyle they want and still live within their means. These Millennials:

• Want to learn, but mainly from people like themselves.

• Are attracted to time-saving conveniences such as click-and-collect and subscription programs.


Focus on the common ground:
All Millennials want these five things

There are important differences among the Millennial groups, but there are also important common areas of expectation. All Millennials want these five things from their online/in-store grocery experience:

1. To be able to communicate easily with their food retailer using mobile devices.  This is how they want to find out what’s on sale, how to prepare meals, and to communicate their concerns.

2. To receive offers and other communications customized to their needs. Millennials believe that retailers can to do this, and they are willing to trade their information to get the added personalization — but the communications have to be relevant.

3. To learn from people like themselves. Referrals and ratings are important, and they value those who help them connect with their peers.


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4. To have visibility into prices. Price may not be their main priority, but Millennials want to be reassured (or know) that they’re not overpaying for what they’re getting.

5. To be authentically engaged on a regular basis. Millennials are looking for and expect regular outreach, and they also appreciate an opportunity to offer their own input/feedback, especially if the retailer expects them to be loyal.

This is where grocery retailers need to focus, if they want to connect with the new generation of shoppers.  

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