Published On: 11/18/2014

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Before we get ahead of ourselves worrying about holiday sales, we actually have to get
through Thanksgiving. Nowhere is that more important than in the grocery business. As consumer behaviors change, grocery stores continually need to adapt in order to serve their customers and maintain market share.

As with most retailers, grocery stores are becoming keenly aware of the generational differences between older and younger shoppers. Thanksgiving is a perfect example of these differences. As Boomers begin to pass down some of the responsibility for maintaining family traditions, Millennials are making a place for themselves at the table. Perhaps to the dismay of their parents, they are bringing with them all of the values that so many retailers find challenging. For grocery stores that means they are demanding fresh, quality food delivered in a convenient, inexpensive way.

Prepared foods, favored for their convenience, are becoming a larger part of the holiday table. Nearly three out of 10 consumers plan to add ready-to-eat items from retailers, restaurants or caterers, according to Chicago-based market research firm Technomic, Inc.

Of those shoppers that regularly purchase prepared foods; over half are between the ages of 18-34. While Millennials may not be as affluent or spend as much as older consumers, their ascension to the top of the consumer food chain is imminent. Brands that effectively cater to and communicate with them now will be in a position to build lasting relationships.

When it comes to communicating with Millennials, convenience and value are once again important things to consider. They rely heavily on mobile devices for planning purchases. That does not mean they’ve abandoned traditional media. Nearly 40% consider newspapers their primary source for coupons, according to Scarborough Research.

As Millennials move along this multi-media search for value, grocery stores have an opportunity to speak to them in a variety of ways. They can offer deals across a variety of online and offline channels in order to address the value Millennials are seeking. They also can utilize content marketing in order to leave a lasting impression as a trusted brand that provides the quality and freshness Millennials seek.