Financially Strapped Millennials Engage in Deal-Seeking Grocery Buying Behavior, Can be Swayed by Reviews

May 31, 2018

Almost half (47%) of American adults are making sacrifices to make ends meet, and 44% say their household’s financial health is strained, according to research from IRI [pdf]. The study reveals that Retirees & Seniors are the least likely to have to make sacrifices and be under financial strain, while a majority of Millennials are facing those realities.

Indeed, fully 58% of younger Millennials say that their household’s financial health is strained, as do 48% of older Millennials. Interestingly, such financial hardship isn’t limited to Millennials, despite their below-average incomes and net worth. In fact, almost half (48%) of younger Boomers also said that their household’s financial health is strained, and this group was the most likely (34%) to report having difficulty affording needed groceries. Perhaps it’s due to their having Millennials back in the home: fully 55% of 18-24-year-olds live in their parents’ home, per Census Data.

One thing seems clear, though: youth are the most likely to be engaging in deal-seeking behavior when buying groceries. Some three-quarters of younger Millennials say they tend to buy products in bulk to get a lower price per serving, a figure that declines with each successive age group, all the way down to 48% of Retirees & Seniors. Likewise, 80% of younger Millennials generally buy the lowest-price item when buying groceries, a figure which also recedes alongside increasing age, down to half of Retirees & Seniors.

Shoppers are also engaging in money-saving preparations, with youth once again the most apt to do so. Virtually all (95%) younger Millennials buy private label options, and 86% try new, lower-priced brands. Younger Millennials are also the most likely to download coupons from a retailer/manufacturer website, a result that aligns with other research indicating that Millennials are avid coupon users.

But while youth appear to gravitate towards lower-priced options, there’s at least one way beyond price to influence their purchase behavior, per the report.

That impact comes from reviews. A majority of both younger (53%) and older (57%) Millennials claim that they would switch to a new brand if they read a good review online. They’re not alone, as a majority (53%) of Gen Xers would do the same, though only a minority of Boomers and Seniors count reviews as being that influential.

Previous research has also found that beyond price, customer reviews and ratings are the leading influencers of purchase behavior among Millennial women.

The full IRI report can be accessed here [pdf].

About the Data: The results are based on an online survey of 2,100 US adults (18+). The generational age breaks are as follows: Younger Millennials: born 1990+; Older Millennials: born 1981-89; Gen Xers: born 1965-80; Younger Boomers: born 1956-64; Older Boomers: born 1946-55; Retirees & Seniors: born before 1946.

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