IGD research identifies opportunities to engage millennials

IGD identifies the factors most important to millennials when carrying out their food and grocery shopping.

In a new report examining post-millennials – those born between 1992 and 1999 – IGD research reveals how this highly influential generation of shoppers will shape the future of the food and grocery industry, overthrowing baby boomers as the generation with the biggest spending power and influence.

IGD, the research and training charity for the food and grocery industry, has identified time and convenience as the key issues the industry can address to future proof their business to align with these changing needs. Today’s post-millennials are prepared to spend money for products that meet these criteria.

Indeed, when it comes to saving time, more than half (54 per cent) sometimes go to the nearest store even if it is more expensive (compared to 40 per cent of those aged over 25). Furthermore, 52 per cent of 18-25s claim they sometimes spend a bit more for easier to cook or prepare products (compared to 42 per cent of those aged 26+).

The top ten areas post-millennials are saving time on

1. 77 per cent save time by using self-checkouts

2. 69 per cent save time by buying prepared food in jars, tins, packets or cartons

3. 68 per cent save time by spending less time cooking

4. 67 per cent save time by shopping in smaller convenience stores

5. 64 per cent save time by buying food-to-go

6. 61 per cent save time by buying pre-prepared meals or instant products

7. 57 per cent save time by eating up leftovers from a previous meal

8. 56 per cent save time by buying pre-cut products, such as vegetables or fruit

9. 55 per cent save time by missing breakfast

10. 48 per cent save time by cooking in bulk

Michael Freedman, senior shopper insight manager at IGD, says, ‘Our research gives us a unique insight into the minds of a group that, while relatively small today, will become even more influential and crucial to understanding the shopping behaviours of generations to come.

‘We’re seeing the priorities of post-millennials differ significantly from older generations, with societal shifts and advancements in technology being key factors in the changing shopping needs of 18-25 year olds.’

Freedman adds, ‘There are great opportunities for those businesses within the food and grocery industry to gain competitive advantage by meeting the needs of this powerful group of shoppers. However, those businesses that fail to understand the specific requirements of 18-25s will only risk losing out.

‘It will be key to future-proofing businesses to meet the growing demands from post-millennials who expect better products, prices, more product diversity and improved services, along with wanting meaningful experiences and inspiration – while always demanding convenience.’

Cut out unnecessary time

With saving time being a clear priority for this age group, IGD’s research highlights the opportunity for companies to focus on shop formats as a way of helping post-millennials to achieve this when choosing where to shop. As such, 37 per cent of post-millennials would like to spend less time shopping with relatively few wishing to spend more time.

Convenience comes through as an area with the most opportunities for engaging with 18-25 year olds, with one in five (20 per cent) mainly shopping at convenience stores, which is more than double the number of those aged 26 and over (9 per cent).

Most still mainly shop in larger stores, however, use of these stores is lower than average (53 per cent vs 63 per cent of those aged over 26).

When asked about shopping in larger stores, a quarter (25 per cent) of 18-25 year olds who shop in these larger stores claim they have difficulty in finding products (vs. 16 per cent aged over 26) and 23 per cent find it too time consuming (vs. 16 per cent aged over 26).

Freedman continues, ‘Suppliers and retailers working in convenience stores have a real chance at winning with this generation if they tailor their strategy to appeal to post-millennials shopping expectations. However, it prompts the question of whether the large store formats are as good as they currently can be, and what this means for businesses engaging with this audience.

‘This generation feel like they are ahead of the industry where innovation, store formats and technology are concerned and manufacturers and retailers are running to keep up with them. Larger stores will need to adapt to make the whole timesaving and convenience aspect of shopping suit the needs of this group.’

He concludes, ‘There’s a clear demand for developments in these areas so the industry needs to be able to get ahead of the times and be willing to be nimble. Both manufacturers and retailers need to accelerate their responsiveness to this group’s extensive and rapid shopping needs around channel evolution and product development. They are interested in food, but ultimately, any work that the industry can do to highlight speed and convenience for them will pay dividends.’

Further reading on millennials

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the Smallbusiness.co.uk and Growthbusiness.co.uk titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the Express.co.uk.

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