Why do millennials hate groceries?

That was the provocative title on a recent article in The Atlantic. Citing data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey, produced by the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the article stated that younger shoppers were “eating out at restaurants and bars, ordering it on their phones, or snagging groceries at convenience stores” rather than shopping at supermarkets.

But is this a trend among Millennials only? The article goes on to say that older generations are also diversifying their food shopping, and spending a lower share in supermarkets. Not only are they dining out more often, they’re also “dividing their grocery shopping among several stores, rather than relying on one supermarket.”

The article goes on: “In 2005, two-thirds of shoppers said that their local supermarket was their primary shopping destination… This year, fewer than half of shoppers do.”

Is the same thing happening in Canada?

Are there differences in shopping patterns between Millennials and Zoomers?

For answers, ZoomerU consulted the Vividata Q2 Readership and Product Database. The results were revealing:

  • As with the USA, there was a wide variety of options: bulk food stores, butcher and meat shops, fruit and vegetable stores, farmer’s markets, convenience stores, ethnic food stores, drug stores and discount stores, along with the traditional “grocery stores”
  • Despite all the choices, just over 50% of Canadians said the “grocery store” was where they shopped for food most often. For Millennials, however, the percentage was only 40.6%, for an index of 81. For Zoomers, the percentage was 60.5%, for an index of 120.
  • When you convert the percentages into actual numbers, the size advantage of the Zoomers becomes even more evident. A total of 3.4 million Millennials said they shop at grocery stores most often, while the Zoomer total is 9.5 million – almost three times as many. It’s clear which audience should be the priority for supermarkets.
  • And it’s even more clear when you factor in number of shopping trips and average weekly spending. At all levels of frequency – 1 trip per week, 2 trips, 3 or 4 trips, 5 trips or more – Millennials index below 100, while Zoomers represent more than half the total shoppers in every group. For example, 2.9 million Zoomers shop for food 3 or 4 times a week, accounting for 63.6% of all Canadians in that group, and an index of 126. Over 500,000 Zoomers shop for food 5 times a week or more, representing 60% of all Canadians who shop that frequently, and with an index of 119.
  • Dollars spent? No contest. Whether it’s weekly food spending of $100 to $149, or $150 to 249, or $250 an up, Millennials never account for more than 22% of all Canadians in each group, and never index above 84. Zoomers account for more than 50% of all shoppers in each group, and never index below 102.

 

By three important measures – shopping at grocery stores most often, frequency of shopping, and dollars spent per week – it’s overwhelmingly clear that Zoomers are the most important audience for supermarkets and food marketers generally. It makes sense, of course, to spend at least some marketing dollars to try to win the Millennials over. But if you have to make your numbers, the Zoomers are where to look.

 

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