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Millennial vs Gen Z: 2019 Grocery Shopping Habits

By: Melaina Lewis, Manager, Communications, Food Marketing Institute Gen Z Millennial Grocery Shopping

As an older Millennial sibling, I could share a million examples that demonstrate how I differ from my younger Gen Z brother. I like calendar appointments; he prefers his days to be unplanned. I tend to be tidy; my brother lives with a mountain of water bottles under his bed. Knowing these fundamental personality traits, I tested how different – or similar – we are in the grocery aisles. So, we headed out to the grocery store and I learned personalization is key.

According to 2019 U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends, 53% of shoppers use a regular full-service supermarket “almost every time” they shop.

My brother preferred to visit one store that met all his needs. He’s an ardent grocery list shopper and follows a strict shopping flow in store. In less than 15 minutes, we hit the dairy, snack, and pasta aisles without any stops in the deli or bakery. However, my shopping style has evolved to include more channels and banners to meet my needs, and I always make a stop at the bakery and prepared foods sections.

Younger shoppers ask stores to deliver an engaging experience on many fronts, including convenience and discovery, Trends reports.

Both high-quality, affordable products made it to the top of both our grocery priority lists. I paid more attention to products with ethical concerns and my brother shopped with an environment-friendly lens. Overall, we both appreciate stores that make shopping effortless (in terms of both an efficient shopping experience and availability of healthy convenience foods), information available, healthy options and opportunity to explore.

Trends finds online grocery channels now reach Gen Z to almost the same extent as it does Millennials.

Back in 2017, my digital grocery shopping habits had moved from curiosity to comfort. Today, my online grocery basket has shrunk. I prefer shopping the physical aisles over virtual pages. I trust my grocer to help me personalize my grocery experience. While my brother’s attention has shifted more prominently to online grocery shopping. He wants a personalized online shopping experience that is as fast and efficient as his Spotify playlists. He desires whatever food he wants, whenever he wants it, delivered directly to his door.

Whether it’s online or brick-or-mortar shopping experiences, we both want convenience and a tailored experience that meets our individual needs. Customized shopping presents opportunities and challenges that retailers will need to weigh, but personalization strategies have become the new competitive landscape in food retail.

Download U.S. Grocery Shopper Trends