Groceries & Millennials: They’re Buying Less, Shopping Online

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From Whole Foods launching a supposedly hipper 365 brand of stores to Target’s mini-stores aimed at attracting young shoppers, retailers across the board have millennials in their crosshairs. But a new report suggests those efforts have been for naught, with younger shoppers continuing to seek out e-commerce options when it comes to grocery shopping. 

The Wall Street Journal reports that consumers in their 20s and 30s are taking a different route than their predecessors: skipping traditional grocery stores or buying less when they do shop.

The shift, which includes millennials spending less on groceries per month than in the past, sees younger shoppers visiting a variety of stores for their goods, such as convenience stores, online services like AmazonFresh, and big box retailers like Target.

According to federal data, last year consumers between the ages of 25 to 34 spent an average of $3,539 on groceries, about $1,000 less than what the same age group spent in 1990.

“I don’t think we’ve seen shopping change so dramatically ever,” Marty Siewert, senior vice president for consumer and shopper analytics at Nielsen, tells the WSJ. “Those things in the past that have been real drivers for grocery in terms of freshness and quality aren’t the key drivers for millennials.”

Instead, the driver is convenience and cost.

Younger consumers no longer actually have to leave their homes to fill their cupboards or refrigerators. There are a variety of online options available, including Amazon’s Fresh and Pantry services and Walmart’s curbside pickup.

Additionally, some young shoppers tell the WSJ that concerns over finances, including growing student loan debt, has led them to be more cost conscious when it comes to groceries. Earlier this year, a report found that more young people have turned to discount chains like Dollar General for their shopping needs. 

In order to make up some of the lost revenue, more grocery chains are turning to smartphone apps, partnering with delivery services like Instacart and Shipt, and launching new millennial-focused product lines.

Grocers Feel Chill From Millennials [The Wall Street Journal]

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