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Grocery shopping: how can you win the Gen Z vote?

Louisa Moore Consultant 18/02/2022

Shopping behaviours are constantly changing, having been accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, with marked differences in behaviours across generations.

Generation Z are noticeably less experienced in adapting to these changes where cost is a key consideration. How can brands and retailers aid these shoppers to help them navigate the supermarket with confidence, and turn them into life-long loyal customers?

With inflation at its highest rate for 30 years, it is evident that Gen Z need guidance on how to get the most value out of their supermarket shop.

Gen Z lead the way in using tech to simplify the shopping experience, from quick delivery services and self-checkouts to scan as you go. However it is evident that they lack savviness when it comes to evaluating price. Whilst the supermarkets of choice are Asda, Tesco, and Aldi, they are more likely than Millennials and Gen X to shop at M&S (16%) or Waitrose (13%), on a monthly basis – stores which are considered to be at the more expensive end of the market – this is despite 60% claiming to be strongly driven by price when shopping.

When asked what is important to them when deciding where to shop, Gen Z value ‘good prices’ the least out of all generations, with only 54% of those who shop in store, and 32% of those who shop online. This contradiction could stem from the fact that Gen Z may be limited in the retailers they can access easily, due to not owning a car (especially if they are at university), hence price comes second to convenience when deciding where to shop, but it is clear that still search for good deals when in store. In addition, more affordable stores such as Aldi, don’t tend to have smaller more accessible convenience store formats, like Sainsbury’s and M&S.

It is not just about price though, Gen Z have other issues when shopping, in particular when it comes to finding products.

  • 27% feel that there is too much choice
  • 15% on the other hand find there is too little choice
  • 21% find it difficult to get help if they can’t find what they’re looking for
  • 21% find it takes too long to find the products they are looking for
  • 26% are irritated when their favourite products disappear without warning

Initially, they may start shopping with a focus on getting the best price, but when it comes down to it, price slips down the order of importance. With inflation at its highest rate for 30 years, it is evident that Gen Z need guidance on how to get the most value out of their supermarket shop.

Gen Z are more likely to be shopping just for themselves, and be limited in where they can shop, and supermarkets do not typically cater to individuals or those looking for convenience. Products normally come in larger packets containing multiple servings, which can be problematic when buying fresh produce for only one or two people. Convenience stores also tend to mark up the prices of their products due to the nature of most customers’ visits. This is also a factor contributing to Gen Z being the most likely to use meal box services such as Hello Fresh (17%), who deliver ingredients to your door for making pre-selected meals.

So, what can supermarkets do to help tackle the frustrations of Gen Z and convert them to loyal shoppers?

  • At a basic level displaying price per serving information clearly, or even packing products in smaller portion sizes, would make it is easier for Gen Z to make comparisons and understand whether products are offering good value for money.
  • Offering inspiration for good value meals using products that can be bought online and in store. This could be achieved by developing an evening meal deal for example, utilising fresh produce. Online apps, websites or even product packaging could also be used to provide step by step recipes for a meal for one using products in the supermarket.
  • More long-term, retailers that don’t have smaller convenience store formats could look at developing these, and those that do could consider making pricing more consistent.

For more information on how we can help understand shopping behaviours, please get in touch

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