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Why 'Millennials' Are Impulse Shoppers

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Women ages 20 to 30 represent a $54 billion marketing opportunity for packaged-goods companies, but their needs and values are vastly different from the generation before them, a new report from Information Resources found.

“Winning With Millennial Women Shoppers” outlines this growing consumer demographic’s key behaviors. Compared to the preceding generation, women born between 1979 and 1989 tend to shop less, buy more during each trip, and frequent supercenters and Walmart more. The economy has also forced these shoppers to cut back on indulgent food categories like frozen poultry, chewing gum, salty snacks and frozen pizza, the report said.

The findings are in-line with marketers’ latest attempts to understand this age group, which, in the next few years, is expected to surpass baby boomers in consumer packaged-goods spending. Women in their 20s and 30s are just now buying homes, thinking about marriage, parenthood and career development. All these factors spell plenty more marketing opportunities for food and non-food manufacturers going forward, per IRI.

The study also found that:

• Though Millennial women may mirror Generation X households in their purchase of non-food items (hair care, suntan products, household cleaners, for instance), their acceptance of private label is much higher. Seventy percent of Millennials perceive store brands to be of “excellent quality,” IRI said, challenging the general belief that private label acceptance evolves over time. This suggests that traditional advertising media, such as TV and print, may not be as effective as they once were in reaching younger consumers, and marketers should turn to more nontraditional means, said Sean Seitzinger, IRI’s svp of thought leadership.

• Millennial women are seeking retailers that can provide better-for-you and healthy options, though the health factor becomes less important when purchasing beverages.

• Compared to their elders, Millennials tend to use less coupons and circulars. They are also more likely to shop without a budget and make impulse grocery purchases. Due to their quick purchasing decisions, these women are also less likely to stock up while deals and bargains last. Marketers, Seitzinger said, have better luck reaching these women via the right in-store messaging and packaging size. Such behaviors derive from the fact that these shoppers are both time strapped and aren’t as savvy as older shoppers when it comes to looking for deals.

They may be time and money compressed, but they live in this 24-hour "on" lifestyle, and so, for most Millennials, it’s more about getting it done rather than getting the best deal,” Seitzinger said. “They’re asking, ‘Hey, do I have enough to [get] what I need to [get] right now, and if so, I’m just going to do it.'"

Millennials also value characteristics, such as a store’s “value proposition, location, user-friendly layout and variety” when it comes to deciding where they’ll shop, according to Seitzinger. Features such as checkout counters and loyalty shopping cards are less important, as are the location and space devoted to high-traffic departments such as fresh meat and produce. So the connection is twofold, Seitzinger said. On the one hand, they are expecting retailers to help them save money, oftentimes via functional, high quality store brands; on the other hand, there’s also an “emotional attachment to where they shop, [rather than] just the category solutions they’re buying,” he said.

So what is the lesson here for marketers? Packaged-goods companies need to think outside of the box when marketing to this group. Seitzinger said: “The same old, same old is probably not going to create a lot of success” with Millennials given that their spending and shopping habits are different.


Nielsen Business Media