Jan 23, 2018 Gina Ashe, CEO

Why Aren’t Millennials Shopping at Grocery Stores?

Millennials are a hot topic when it comes to disrupting the traditional norms of various industries, and the food retail industry is no exception. The largest US population spends the least amount of time buying groceries, and the implications will be huge.

According to a recent USDA study, millennials’ habits around buying food are vastly different than older generations. Not surprisingly, millennials make the fewest trips to the supermarket and spend the least amount of money on making food at home.

This certainly jives with characteristic millennial attitudes, like placing more importance on convenience and experiences. But, what does this mean for traditional grocery stores?

Simply put, millennials would rather go out and enjoy dinner with friends than invest time at home cooking for themselves. Studies show that millennials also aren’t investing heavily in meal kit deliveries or spending a lot of time buying groceries online. Around a quarter of millennials have bought groceries online in the last three months. Millennials are, however, 30% more likely to dine at a restaurant or bar than any other generation.

What Do Millennials Want?

But, the fact that millennials eat out more doesn’t mean that they go completely grocery-free. Estimates differ, but most millennials visit a food store between three and six times per month. When it comes to food shopping, millennials tend to want faster, more efficient ways of purchasing – while still paying less and maintaining healthy lifestyles.

Millennials are also values-driven buyers, and they’re looking for brands that match their personal convictions. Many millennials are interested in eating healthy, which means they look to buy fresh, organic foods. In fact, 55% of millennials consider the label “organic” important when buying food, and 40% look for limited or no artificial ingredients when reading food labels.

Sustainability and social responsibility is another driver, with millennials making up the greatest share of sustainability-concerned consumers. So, while millennials are price-conscious, they’re willing to spend a bit more to buy products that are locally or ethically made.

Millennials’ purchasing behavior greatly influences the current retail landscape. What can retailers and brands do to bring them back into the store?

The Power of Demos

Well-executed demos and sales have the power to draw millennials back into stores. Think of grocery stores like Whole Foods, which frequently features demos by local brands, or Costco, where samples are almost unavoidable. Kroger and Trader Joe’s also offer samples of rotating products, and focus on offering the fresh, organic, artisanal foods that millennials desire. What else do these stores have in common? They’re millennials’ most frequented grocery stores.

After all, what’s better than free food? Turns out, free food served by a knowledgeable, engaging brand associate.

ThirdChannel data shows that store associates are successful when they're able to demonstrate passion for the product, proactively and strategically engage with customers, and tell customers something they don’t know. And, in a study of one CPG product, 29% of consumer purchase decisions were swayed by demos.

Unique, eye-catching demos staffed by educated associates can engage and attract millennials by providing the shopping experience that they desire.

Setting up engaging demos with brands that speak to Millennials’ values and desires for local, sustainable or organic products is one compelling way to capture shoppers’ attention and get them excited to come back for more.

Published by Gina Ashe, CEO January 23, 2018
Gina Ashe, CEO