Impulsive Millennials Put Grocers To The Test

Spontaneous and Flexible Eating Habits Point to the Future of Grocery Shopping

Aug 11, 2015, 12:03 ET from MSLGROUP

SEATTLE, Aug. 11, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Revamped grocery store environments and new food shopping formats prove that Millennials are having a profound impact on the food shopping landscape. According to the report, Food Shopping in America, by MSLGROUP and The Hartman Group, Millennials' food purchase decisions are driven by their unique consumption patterns, constraints on budget and spontaneity. These factors differ from older generations and offer brands major challenges and big opportunities to attract these shoppers.

"Millennials are more spontaneous and adventurous than previous generations in their interactions with food and beverage," says Laurie Demeritt, CEO of The Hartman Group. "Millennials' strong ties to technology and new ways of engaging with food and beverage occasions make this generation's shopping and dining habits worth watching, not just for clues about what young adults want but for ways that Millennials are influencing changes across generations."

The report finds that traditional grocery's less differentiated positioning is gradually losing ground to the better value and convenience often found in mass/super channel. Among Millennials, mainstream grocery's position is particularly precarious.  Less than 10 percentage points separate the two channels (63 percent of Millennials shop at mass/super vs. 69 percent at mainstream grocery). Millennials are also more likely than older generations to shop two or more stores on each visit to purchase all of the items they need.

"Brands must adapt to connect directly with the Millennial shopper," says Steve Bryant, MSLGROUP Director of Food and Beverage Marketing. "Millennials value companies that are authentic and transparent, and are more willing to connect with companies that try to address their needs. Marketing efforts should focus on carefully tailored, personalized communications, with a focus on both convenience and affordability."

Understand and Attract the Millennial Shopper

Budget Limits Choice 
Millennials face more budget constraints than Gen X or Boomers+. Nearly half (49 percent) said household budget limitations were the top issue making shopping more difficult. Millennials' median household income ($37.5K) is significantly lower than that of Gen X ($62.5K) or Boomers+ ($72.5K).

Connect with Millennials on Mobile Devices 
Millennials are active and connected shoppers – most (70 percent) use their mobile devices while shopping for tasks like checking a shopping list kept online or on their device, contacting another family member, searching for a coupon and finding a recipe. This creates an opportunity for brands to connect with them via mobile commerce.

Personal Recommendations are Key 
While price has the most impact on Millennials' food choices, they also highly value personal recommendations from friends and family as well as peer reviews when making purchase decisions. Personalized marketing efforts that leverage referrals from Millennials' own social networks will be more effective than endorsements from an outside source.

Unique Mix of Items in Their Cart 
Millennials tend to purchase a unique mix of prepared, convenience items, such as frozen pizza, as well as specialty items, such as baby and pet foods, organics, dairy alternatives and sports drinks. 

About the Report 
Food Shopping in America is a nationally syndicated report published by MSLGROUP and The Hartman Group. The report is an in-depth exploration into how consumers plan, decide, shop and divide their loyalties in the era of unlimited choices and blurring of channels. 

For more information on the report, or to order, please click here.

About MSLGROUP's Food & Beverage Team 
A category leader, the Food & Beverage team of MSLGROUP is devoted to creating economic value for the nation's food and beverage industry. It operates in offices throughout North America, representing leading food and beverage brands, and manages a state-of-the-art Culinary Content Studio in Seattle. For more information, visit www.mslgroup.com.

About The Hartman Group
The Hartman Group is the premier food and beverage consultancy. Since 1989, The Hartman Group's anthropologists, social scientists and business analysts have been immersed in the study of American food and beverage culture, using ethnographic observation, quantitative tracking surveys and deep study of trends. What we have learned and continue to uncover allows us to upend many notions of our traditional American eating and drinking patterns, thereby identifying unique opportunities and winning strategies for our clients. For more information, visit: www.hartman-group.com

About MSLGROUP 
MSLGROUP is Publicis Groupe's strategic communications and engagement group, advisors in all aspects of communication strategy: from consumer PR to financial communications, from public affairs to reputation management and from crisis communications to experiential marketing and events. With more than 3,000 people across close to 100 offices worldwide, MSLGROUP is also the largest PR network in Europe, fast-growing China and India. The group offers strategic planning and counsel, insight-guided thinking and big, compelling ideas – followed by thorough execution. 
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About Publicis Groupe
Publicis Groupe [Euronext Paris FR0000130577, CAC 40] is a global leader in marketing, communication, and business transformation. In a world marked by increased convergence and consumer empowerment, Publicis Groupe offers a full range of services and skills: digital, technology & consulting with Publicis.Sapient (SapientNitro, Sapient Global Markets, Sapient Government Services, Razorfish Global, DigitasLBi, Rosetta) - the world's largest most forward-thinking digitally centered platform focused exclusively on digital transformation in an always-on world - as well as creative networks such as BBH, Leo Burnett, Publicis Worldwide, Saatchi & Saatchi, public affairs, corporate communications and events with MSLGROUP, ad tech solutions with VivaKi, media strategy, planning and buying through Starcom MediaVest Group and ZenithOptimedia, healthcare communications, with Publicis Healthcare Communications Group (PHCG), and finally, brand asset production with Prodigious. Present in 108 countries, the Groupe employs more than 76,000 professionals.

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