Do Younger Shoppers Love Costco As Much As Their Parents?

A large number of Consumerist readers are in the “Millennial” generation, and really love Costco. That’s just anecdotal information based on the contents of our inbox, though: some investment analysts are starting to wonder whether today’s young adults will buy their own memberships and get their frozen meat by the crate, their toilet paper by the truckload, and their honey a gallon at a time, just like their forebears.

The millennial generation is roughly defined as “people born between 1980 and 2000.” While it’s impossible to generalize about everyone born in a twenty-year span, especially when the older cohort didn’t even get mobile phones until they were legal adults. Experts have noticed broad trends, though: even when they are gainfully employed and can afford them, millennials are less interested in owning cars and houses than prior generations were at the same age.

That must have companies that run suburban big boxes like Costco stores worried. In a recent conference call, Costco CFO Richard Galanti told analysts that the retailer is looking to expand its offerings of organic foods and trying delivery.

Do those stereotypical giant packs of toilet paper appeal to young adults who are frugal, but don’t have the expansive basements and garages that they might have grown up with in the suburbs? In the coming decades, Costco will find out, and might change

Does Costco have a youth problem? [RetailWire] (via Time)

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  1. theoriginalcatastrophegirl says:

    apparently costco is popular in japan, a place known for less than roomy housing and more public than private transportation – apparently it’s so popular one of the locations even has $32 parking fees
    http://en.rocketnews24.com/2013/02/21/hiroshima-finally-gets-a-costco-too-bad-you-have-to-pay-32-for-parking/
    and based on the articles i’ve seen online about how to store canned food under your bed, (including consumerist, if i recall correctly) i doubt costco will see catastrophic failure due to smaller housing and lack of cars

    • GoldHillDave says:

      I’ve heard from someone who has visited there that the Costcos sell in smaller quantities in Japan.

  2. CommonC3nts says:

    Until the younger generation gets married and has 4 kids they wont need to buy in bulk from costco.

    I will say that people of the 1980 to 2000 generation are getting married and having kids much later so that means a gap between the generations for costco customers.

    • theoriginalcatastrophegirl says:

      i used to love having my mom take me to costco because i had 4 roommates. i’d collect money before i went and get the biiiiiig packs of toilet paper and stuff. i can’t imagine it’s the same for everyone, but it sure is useful when you are crammed in like sardines trying to save on rent

  3. GoldHillDave says:

    I personally wish Costco would not “expand its offerings of organic foods”, as they seem to replace rather than supplement the conventional choices. I for one am not willing to pay the significant premium in price for the questionable benefits of “organic”. If they were to offer the organic IN ADDITION TO the regular canned crushed tomatoes, for example, that would be fine with me, but give me the choice! Of course, Costco isn’t big on choice. And is there really any such thing as an inorganic tomato?

    • charmander says:

      Of there is such a thing as an inorganic tomato.Those are tomatoes grown using synthetic agricultural chemicals in the soil vs. natural fertiilizers. What a strange question.

    • CharlesWinthrop says:

      I definitely agree! We tried Costco for a month. And watched as the items we would purchase got swapped out for higher priced “organic” versions. Between that and the literal flood of spam that kept ignoring my “unsubscribe” requests, I said “nope” and went back to Sam’s Club.

  4. charmander says:

    They might not be big Costco shoppers now, but wait until they get married and have kids.

  5. MarthaGaill says:

    I think they’d need to come up with something along the lines of Amazon Prime for my generation to really latch on.

  6. Terryc says:

    I do think that offering delivery would make a difference. While young adults might be very interested in bulk purchases even if splitting with room mates. Most dont have the large vehicle or mini van to transport the larger purchases. Having the option for delivery might make a difference.