teenager grocery shopping

5 insights on the next generation of grocery shoppers

Teenagers tend to be most influenced by their peers when it comes to what they buy, and they're also highly influential to their parents' purchases. Below, a retail consultancy offers up more on Generation Z.

With Generation Z expected to comprise 40 percent of the North American population by 2020, retailers must address the needs of this generation and understand its purchasing power in households. According to a survey conducted by HRC Retail Advisory, recognizing the differences between generational segments and understanding the implications of Generation Z’s influence will be critical in successfully targeting and serving this age group (10-17).

"Retailers must be nimble in order to effectively appeal to Generation Z consumers," said Farla Efros, president of HRC Retail Advisory. "Resonating with this group at a young age can have a huge impact on retailers’ long-term consumer retention and brand loyalty. Social media and digital advertising will be dominant in marketing strategies targeted to Generation Z, but retailers must adopt these mediums in interactive ways to inspire and engage this emerging generation of consumers."

To better understand the growing influence of Generation Z and the implications for retailers, HRC surveyed 3,100 participants from the U.S. and Canada on their attitudes, shopping habits and influences driving their purchasing decisions.

Significant findings of the survey include:

Generation Z strongly influences parents’ purchases

Generation Z has a strong voice and expects to be heard, especially when it comes to what their parents are buying. A significant 82 percent of parents surveyed admitted that their children have some influence over purchasing decisions, while 93 percent of the Generation Z respondents say they have influence over certain categories such as clothing, footwear, accessories and cosmetics.

YouTube tops Facebook as most-visited social platform

YouTube is the top social platform for Generation Z, with 54 percent of respondents stating that they visit YouTube daily in order to receive information. This is a significant deviation from millennials, who named Facebook as their most visited social platform. About 50 percent of Generation Z visits Facebook daily, with Instagram and Snapchat falling behind at 34 percent and 29 percent respectively.

According to Generation Z, malls are not dead

Despite being raised with the internet, Generation Z is still going to the mall to shop. While approximately 60 percent of all survey respondents said they visit a mall or shopping center at least once a month, a whopping 72 percent of Generation Z respondents said they visited the mall at least once a month and stayed for at least an hour, visiting 4.4 stores on the trip. Generation Z-ers are not browsers, as 60 percent of these high-frequency visitors go to the mall with a clear intention of making a purchase for themselves.

Generation Z votes friends as most influential

Moving forward, retailers will need to reconsider the implications of their selection of spokespeople to represent their brands. A majority of Generation Z respondents (62 percent) deemed friends as the most influential party on their buying decisions. Athletes came in a distant second at 14 percent, with bloggers/YouTubers closely following at 13 percent. Celebrity and singer endorsements were ranked the lowest, at 6 percent and 7 percent respectively. Eighty-nine percent of Generation Z respondents also said they would be more likely to enter a store based on where their friends shop.

Digital in their DNA

Generation Z is already buying online, and often. Half of Generation Z respondents stated that they shop online at least once a month. Of those making online purchases within the last 12 months, 77 percent stated they have purchased something from Amazon, and 34 percent have purchased something from eBay.

Tips for retailers

HRC Retail Advisory notes that retailers need to consider the following five factors to most effectively serve Generation Z consumers:

  • Depict them as diverse (ethically, socially, fashionably).
  • Communicate more frequently in short bursts using content.
  • Allow them to personalize, give them control and preferences.
  • Talk to them about values and social causes.
  • Instead of creating demand using Hollywood celebrities, use real people or internet/YouTube stars to market your brand.

Notes on survey methodology and analysis

HRC Retail Advisory’s survey findings are based on a targeted sample of four distinct demographics: millennials with no children, millennial parents of children under 18, Generation X and baby boomer parents of children under 18, and children ages 10-17. The sample size was 675 per group in the United States, and 100 per group in Canada. The survey was fielded in October 2016 and was completed through proprietary sample sources among panelists who participate in online surveys. The total sample size was 3,100 completes.

Source: HRC Retail Advisory press release

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