U.S. grocery buying and what does age and income have to do with it?

Behaviors of U.S. consumers are shaping how and where we buy groceries according to current research by Mintel Group Ltd.

Household income is related to brand loyalty at the U.S. grocery retailer.  $50,000 household income is the tipping point at which a consumer tends to buy a particular item based on price or brand.  So says Mintel Group Ltd. in their Grocery Retailing US, November 2016 report of 1,952 adults with Internet access and responsibility for grocery buying surveyed.  Our ages and incomes have a lot to do with how and where we make our purchases.

Coupons are the main drivers of purchase decisions for 44 percent of consumers, with price following at 40 percent.

At least 68 percent of us prefer to buy our fresh foods such as produce, dairy, fish, meat and seafood, frozen and shelf-stable foods at supermarkets.  A single store is not adequate for one third of consumers, particularly millennials, young women, and young women with children who shop at three or more stores to meet their needs. 

Online grocery shopping is gaining popularity with 36 percent reported having done so in the last year, and 76 percent interested in picking up items bought on-line.  

The impact of millennials, those born between 1977 and 1994, who constitute the largest single U.S. population group at 79 million, or 25 percent, is reflected in the current trend for store experiences. Food sampling, cafes, wine bars, cooking classes, and promotional events are examples of in-store happenings favored by millennials.  Millennials prefer to shop at grocery store with experiences at the rate of 2:1 over those in the general Mintel survey. 

For information on marketing, managing, or starting a food, agriculture, bio economy and natural resources business development, contact the Michigan State University Product Center at www.productcenter.msu.edu or 517-432-8750. Michigan State University Extension Innovation Counselors are available statewide for free business counseling.

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