Millennials may be accused of killing many industries, but online grocery shopping isn’t one of them. One recent e-commerce study found that 25% of millennials do most or all of their grocery shopping online (up from 14% prior to the COVID-19 pandemic). This percentage is higher than any other demographic group, including baby boomers and Gen Z.
So, why does it matter what percentage of millennials shop online for groceries? If you own a grocery store and you aren’t offering online shopping or delivery services, you’re missing out on a large pool of potential consumers. Let’s explore the why behind this millennial trend and discuss new ways to snag this demographic as repeat customers.
How Are Millennials Changing Grocery Shopping Patterns and the Food Industry?
We mentioned that millennials are doing the most online grocery shopping out of all the generations, but why exactly is that the case? Much of this change goes hand in hand with how millennials are changing the food industry as a whole. Here are some of the common trends we are seeing in the way millennials interact with food:
In a recent survey, 40% of millennials are self-described “foodies,” or people who see food as a hobby and not just a basic survival need. Foodies are constantly on the lookout for unique recipe ideas or new cuisines to try, and searching online is the best way to find these resources. It’s an explorative spirit, one that might have them searching for companies like OjaExpress to connect with local stores carrying special and culturally-specific options. We think this quote from New York Magazine says it best:
“…food has become a defining obsession among a wide swath of the young and urbane. It is not golf or opera. It’s more like indie rock. Just like the music of, say, Drag City bands on a nineties campus, food is now viewed as a legitimate option for a hobby, a topic of endless discussion, a playground for one-upmanship, and a measuring stick of cool.” – Michael Idov, “When Did Young People Start Spending 25% of Their Paychecks on Pickled Lamb’s Tongue?”
Willingness to Spend Money on Food
87% of millennials in that same survey admitted they would splurge on a nice meal, even when their budget might be tight. Additionally, over 80% of millennials say that groceries are their biggest monthly expenditure, and it seems they’re happy to spend a portion of those funds on delivery costs for convenience. Whether they’re self-described foodies or simply hungry, millennials are showing a strong willingness to put their money where their mouth is.
Taking Pics for the ‘Gram
Have you heard of the “camera eats first” global phenomenon? Or maybe you’ve been invited to someone’s house for dinner, and they have a full-on photoshoot with the meal they’ve prepared before you can eat? Millennials are one of the largest groups that are choosing to “feed” their camera before themselves, as 69% of them reported they usually take photos of their food before eating. Keeping a food diary on social media that is photogenic, colorful, and adventurous has become a form of self-expression, right up there with travel photos and outfits of the day.
Love for Cooking and Specialty Ingredients
Millennials are also finding joy in the art of cooking, as 64% of them agree they “love cooking” and consider themselves “experts in the kitchen.” They’re also not as excited to buy ingredients at big grocery store chains and are more likely to shop at club, specialty, or mom-and-pop store formats, like many of the grocers we partner with for delivery services at OjaExpress. And when they can’t find that black mustard seed oil or katsuobushi they are looking for, they will most likely start searching the web to find it online instead.
An Ethnically Diverse Generation
Each generation is becoming more ethnically diverse than the one before it. The millennial generation makes up about a quarter of the total U.S. population, and 44% of these millennials are minorities. This indicates that the demographics of online shoppers in 2022 and beyond will continue to change from what they have been. Grocery stores, restaurants, and other food suppliers should be continuously researching new ways to reach all of these communities.
Start Offering Online Grocery Delivery with OjaExpress
If you own an ethnic grocery store in the Chicago area, and your search history has been filled with “how to get customers back in your store after the pandemic” or “creative ways to attract customers,” consider offering online delivery with OjaExpress. Our mission is to connect people to a wide variety of culturally diverse products and ingredients, while simultaneously supporting overlooked grocers that are indispensable resources for many ethnic communities. With our delivery service, you can open a door to millennials and other online shoppers, making it easy for them to try your ethnic grocery store and fall in love with it.