Skip to main content

Research Shows How Demographics Influence Shopping Habits


The 14th edition of “The Why? Behind the Buy from Acosta, a full-service sales and marketing agency in the consumer packaged goods (CPG) industry, offers insight into how five distinct generations are altering the grocery landscape, and how brands and retailers can respond to these changes.

“Life stage dictates spending, putting Gen X on top for now, but Millennials will likely take over that spot within the next decade, while Gen Z emerges as an influencer in grocery spending,” noted Colin Stewart, SVP at Jacksonville, Fla.-based Acosta. “As we kick off 2018, it is vital that brands and retailers not only understand what influences each generation’s shopping habits now, but how demand will change as generations move into different phases of life.”

The report provides a comprehensive breakdown of each generation, with key statistics from the respective life stages:

Gen Z: Emerging Influencers (Ages 12-21; Gen Z Shoppers Ages 18-21)

  • Not yet in the working world, Gen Z shoppers (18-21) spend the least on groceries each month, averaging $269.
  • As they’ve never lived without the internet, it’s not surprising that 42 percent of Gen Z shoppers said they use a digital grocery list.
  • Gen Z and Millennial shoppers averaged the most grocery shopping trips each month across generations, with Gen Z making 4.5 routine grocery trips monthly.

Millennials: Selective Spenders (Ages 22-36)

  • Millennial shoppers spend an average of $298 per month on groceries.
  • This generation is not yet brand loyal: 48 percent said they don’t care which brand they buy, and will switch in favor of a better deal.
  • Sixty percent of Millennial shoppers use mobile apps for grocery coupons or discounts, a considerably higher rate than any other generation.
  • Forty-six percent of Millennial shoppers have children younger than 18 at home. Millennial parents spend an average of over $100 more monthly on groceries than their childless cohorts.

Gen X: Spending Big AND Digital Adapters (Ages 37-52)

  • Gen X shoppers spend the most each month on groceries, averaging $380.
  • Many shoppers in this demographic have adopted digital grocery tools: 70 percent said that they redeemed a digital or mobile grocery coupon within the past month.
  • Two-thirds noted that they like cooking new dishes, and 60 percent said that they often check out new items in the supermarket.

Boomers: Still Driving Change (Ages 53-71)

  • Although downsizing, Boomers still spend an average of $314 a month on groceries.
  • These shoppers are brand loyal, buying 82 percent of the same brands that they purchased in the previous year.
  • Boomers are also loyal to their grocery stores: 93 percent shop most often at the same grocery retailer as they did last year.

Silents: Spending on Groceries (Ages 72+)

  • Silent shoppers spend an average of $287 monthly on groceries – the highest household grocery spending per person across all of the generations.
  • They also spend the least amount of their total monthly food budget on eating out.
  • Silents focus on value and are big redeemers of coupons, with nine in 10 saying that they redeemed a paper coupon for a grocery product within the past month.

"The Why? Behind The Buy," 14th edition, features research using a nationally representative random sample of U.S. shoppers via Acosta’s proprietary ShopperF1rst online survey methodology. The full report is available online.

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds