You might think that being the provider of a product that every single human being must have to survive would be an awesome gig, but the reality is that the competition within the grocery category has never been more challenging.

And the changing shopping habits of upcoming generations such as Millennials and Gen Z are disrupting the traditional marketing strategies grocery brands are used to executing.

To stay informed on the latest consumer habits, we performed a cross-country consumer study to understand how each of today’s generations of grocery shoppers make their purchasing decisions.

What matters most to today’s grocery shoppers? Is price still most important? What about customer service? Selection?

Here are three highlights that stood out.

1. Quality Over Price

When asked how important various factors are in picking a grocery store, quality of produce was checked by more respondents than any other factor. Low prices, while still in the top five, took a backseat to quality, and this was true across all generations of shoppers.

In fact, 3 in 4 of our respondents said that quality and freshness was more important than price.

Grocery brands need to make sure they are telling a “fresh” story about their produce across their marketing channels. Whether you’re a college student in your 20s or a grandparent shopping for a family gathering, our study tells us quality of produce has never been more important.

2. Social Word of Mouth is a Big Deal

We all know how important recommendations and “word of mouth” have always been for brands. However, an argument could be made that within the grocery industry, low prices always mattered most. Our study told us this may be changing.

When we analyzed younger Millennial and Gen Z grocery shoppers, they were 45% more likely to name friends and family as a source for grocery shopping information. And, they were twice as likely as older generations to name social media as a resource.

Brands should execute strong social media campaigns, not just with social ad campaigns but with strong two-way communication plans to ensure they are connecting with younger shoppers across social channels, and encouraging viral sharing and engagement.

3. What Convenience Means in 2020

Alongside quality, convenience was a top factor for today’s grocery shoppers, but it’s important to note what “convenience” means to a consumer today versus the past. Historically, store locations drove convenience, and even now, shoppers are always going to put tremendous value on the proximity of their primary grocery store.

However, in today’s online society, it means a lot more. Across all generations, “convenience” was the number one reason given for why they purchase groceries online. As younger generations lead the way in online grocery buying, the convenience of a grocery’s online shopping experience will be crucial to successfully transitioning to an online grocery shopping world.

LOCALiQ has been a key marketing partner to grocery brands large and small across the country for decades. If you would be interested in seeing the full results of our grocery study along with learning about the ways we work every day to provide creative and powerful strategies that bring new shoppers across all generations through the door, we’d love to talk.

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