The Supply Side: Field Agent report sheds insights on Gen Z shopping behaviors

by Kim Souza ([email protected]) 712 views 

While retailers and suppliers are focused on the unique shopping behaviors and attitudes of the mega Millennial generation, the up and coming Generation Z (ages 18 to 22) has its own set of preferences and behaviors.

While Gen Z is the first truly mobile-first generation, they also place a big emphasis on personalization and relevance. This demographic has a spending power of $44 billion and is growing daily. By 2020, Generation Z will account for up to 40% of all U.S. consumers, according to Adobe.

Fayetteville-based Field Agent recently surveyed Gen Z consumers and their parents who are between the ages of 40 and 60 years old. The survey sought to find out how Gen Z shop for groceries and how they intend to shop in the future. (Link here for the full report by Field Agent.)

Field Agent found 19% of Gen Z respondents live with a spouse or significant other while 38% still live with parents. About 8% are parents and 11% shop for more than one child. More than one-third (35%) also shop for a pet and 34% have an Amazon Prime account, while 26% said they use someone else’s Amazon Prime account.

When comparing some of the behaviors of Gen Z to their parent’s generations Field Agent found fewer Gen Z prepare their own food at home. Nearly 8 out of 10 said they cook meals themselves, compared to 95% of older consumers surveyed.

More than a quarter (26%) of Gen Z own a smart speaker and just 9% make purchases of merchandise through the smart speaker. The use of voice commerce was more prevalent among their parent’s generations with 32% saying they own a smart speaker and 13% are also making voice commerce purchases of merchandise.

The majority (51%) of Gen Z respondents said they share the grocery shopping duties with someone in the household. Almost a third (30%) said they are the primary grocery shopper in their household. The remaining 19% said they do not shop for groceries.

Generation Z shopped Walmart more often for groceries than their parents, according to the survey. Walmart garnered 48% of the respondents vote for the place they shopped most often for food and consumables. That falls to 39% with their parent’s generations.

The only other food retailer that indexed higher for Gen Z was Target at 6%, while 3% of their parent’s shopped Target most often for groceries. H-E-B and Publix were flat at 3% and 4%, respectively, for Gen Z and their parents. Aldi and Kroger indexed higher for the parents of Gen Z consumers. One in 10 older consumers chose Aldi as its most shopped grocer and 13% named Kroger. This compared to 7% of Gen Z shoppers choosing Aldi and 11% preferring Kroger.

31% of Generation Z consumers said Walmart would likely be their destination for groceries in the next 5 to 10 years. While 11% said it would be Whole Foods, 9% cited Kroger. Aldi garnered 6% as did Trader Joe’s and Amazon. Target was cited by 4% as was H-E-B, a south Texas grocery chain.

Among the parents of Generation Z, 29% said Walmart would be their top destination for groceries in the next 5 to 10 years.  Just 5% cited Whole Foods and 6% chose Aldi and Amazon. Trader Joe’s was cited by 4% with just 2% choosing Target and 3% cited H-E-B.

Generation Z said they would like to shop for food fewer times per week in the future building larger baskets, less frequently as budgets allow. Top of mind for this young generation is variety, shopping convenience and low prices.

Of the seven grocery chains listed in the survey, Gen Z had the highest overall opinion of Whole Foods as 21% named them first. Walmart was second at 16%, Target was the most favorable at 10%, while Trader Joe’s grabbed 9% of the votes. About 8% of Gen Z named a grocery chain not among the listed seven. Kroger and Publix picked up 7% and 6% of the consumer’s votes on “favorable opinions.” Aldi got 6% of Gen Z votes. The survey said the Gen Z sentiment was likely skewed by retailers closest to them. One respondent made the following comment.

“Of the stores listed, the only ones I have near me are Walmart and Aldi. In my perfect world, I’ll go on a vacation and go to Trader Joe’s.”

The parents of Gen Z also cited Whole Foods and Walmart as the most favorable. Whole Foods got 15% and Walmart got 13% of this generation’s top votes for a favorable opinion. Trader’s Joes and Kroger were each cited by 10% of older respondents. Publix and Aldi got 9% of the respondents top votes while 11% named some other retailer not listed in the survey.

Field Agent said regardless of what the future holds for grocery retail, Gen Z expects to shop differently for food than their parents. Some of the most popular attitudes gleaned from the survey around future shopping behaviors and patterns by Gen Z include: healthier eating, using grocery pickup, using grocery delivery, cooking more fresh foods, expecting faster shopping in-stores with the help of technology, and saving money through promotions and coupons.

Editor’s note: The Supply Side section of Talk Business & Politics focuses on the companies, organizations, issues and individuals engaged in providing products and services to retailers. The Supply Side is managed by Talk Business & Politics and sponsored by Propak Logistics.

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