Gen Xers Prove Cost-Conscious When CPG Shopping

October 29, 2012

However self-indulgent they are perceived to be, Millennials and Gen Xers (those born after the post-WWII baby boomers) are a cost-conscious lot, according to SymphonyIRI’s quarterly MarketPulse findings, released October 2012. Fully 37% of Gen X adults surveyed buy brands that are on sale, rather than the brands they prefer. Just under one-third select products to create more meals at the lowest possible cost, and one-third choose products based on loyalty card discounts.

This frugality is likely a reflection of Gen Xers’ experience: They entered the adult working world after the 1987 stock market crash, and many were left jobless and forced to move in with their parents (a trend called “boomeranging”).

Still, 24% of Gen X adults think their financial situation has improved over the last 12 months, and 37% feel their finances will improve over the next 12 months.

Gen Xers Are Ardent Deal Shoppers

Gen X consumers show considerable forethought in their shopping habits. A significant 69% make shopping lists and use a variety of tools to plan their retail buys. 49% review circulars, 48% use coupons, 14% use the internet to find deals and 10% refer to retailer websites for deals.

Generation X is almost as “wired” as Millennials (aged 18-34), and far more wired than are Baby Boomers or Seniors. 52% of Gen Xers download coupons from manufacturer websites, 51% from manufacturers’ websites and 51% from coupon sites like SmartSource. 35% visit deal sites like Groupon, and 31% use social networks (e.g. Twitter and Facebook) to find coupons. Almost one-quarter opt into retailer and manufacturer email and text messages.

Millennials Even More Frugal

As of June 2012, Millennials were fairly optimistic about their finances, found SymphonyIRI, and 28% felt that that their finances had improved over the prior 12 months. That compared favorably to the general population, of which 18% felt better about their finances than they did a year prior.

Still, in its most recent study, SymphonyIRI found that Millennials are far more likely than even Gen X to buy brands on sale over preferred brands, with 45% doing so. Just 22% of seniors report the same. Also true: Millennials are the most likely of any generation to select products to create more meals at the lowest cost possible.

Millennials and Gen X are fairly even when it comes to choosing products based on loyalty card discounts, as well as in steering clear of store aisles that would prompt them to make unplanned purchases. In each case, Baby Boomers and Seniors are far less likely to display this cost-conscious behavior.

About The Data: SymphonyIRI releases new MarketPulse survey results at the end of each calendar quarter, covering shoppers’ behaviors and attitudes as it directly relates to their strategies for learning about, purchasing and utilizing consumer packaged goods (CPG) and healthcare products, as well as information regarding perceptions of economic conditions and their ability to provide for their families. SymphonyIRI tracks consumer trends with its Shopper Sentiment Index, a benchmark score it has charted since Q1 2011. A Shopper Sentiment Index of over 100 reflects that consumers are driven more by brand loyalty than price.

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