Millenial man with denim shirt and beard looking at mobile phone against blue background and white AdAdapted logo. Title reads Top 3 Millenial Pre-Shop Insights.
March 13, 2024

Top 3 Reasons CPG Brands Should Prioritize Millennial Shoppers

Let's face it: the stereotype of the avocado toast-loving millennial is a tired one. This generation is a vibrant and diverse group with immense buying power in the CPG landscape. It's time to ditch the outdated clichés and explore why millennials are the demographic CPG brands absolutely can't afford to ignore.

Millennials have revolutionized the way we approach grocery shopping. Not fans of aimless aisle browsing, Gen Y are strategic planners who shop weekly and are more apt to place orders online. They leverage digital tools to meticulously craft shopping lists, research products and discover meal inspiration. This data-driven approach creates a golden opportunity for CPG brands to connect with millennials during the crucial pre-shop phase, influencing their brand choices well before they hit the store.

This blog dives deep into the fascinating world of millennial CPG shopping habits. We'll explore how their planning translates into buying decisions, the power of authentic inspiration over traditional advertising, and the platforms where you can reach them most effectively. Finally, we'll provide actionable strategies to turn these insights into tools that help brands unlock this vital demographic's loyalty and purchasing power.

1 - Millennials Are Planners

Millennials are champions of organization, with a whopping 97.9% using shopping lists (digital or paper) when planning their grocery shopping. And this cohort is wielding their digital devices like planning powerhouses. A recent EMarketer report highlights Gen Y’s dominance in the smartphone arena, with over 71.3 million US users in 2024. This digital dependency creates a unique opportunity for CPG brands to connect with this demographic during the crucial pre-shop phase.

Understanding Millennials’ online behavior is crucial to influencing their brand choices.  Gen Y crafts shopping lists on their phones, delves into online product research, and uses recipe apps and inspiration platforms to plan meals. This meticulous planning phase offers a golden window for brands to reach active mobile users when they are most engaged with messaging. Targeted advertising strategies using relevant apps and websites can nudge millennial CPG shoppers towards specific brands before they reach the store. A win for brands and strategic shoppers alike! 

2 - Inspiration Over Advocacy

While family and friend recommendations or crowd-sourced product reviews might have held sway in the past, millennials crave a different kind of influence. Forget glossy magazine ads – a desire for real-world inspiration sparks their shopping needs. According to a survey of over 2,600 US consumers, Gen Y is turning to recipe apps like Tasty, health platforms like Fooducate, and visual inspiration hubs like Pinterest to spark inspiration. Millennials actively seek tips, meal-planning ideas, and healthy choices on platforms like these.

Brands prioritizing “inspiration platforms” in their digital advertising strategy can capture millennials’ attention during crucial pre-shop planning moments. Instead of pushing a product, advertisers can aim to integrate seamlessly through contextual placement and targeted ads. Through considered placements, brands position their companies as trusted resources, fostering brand recognition and driving purchase intent. Ultimately, brand marketers can build long-term loyalty within this vital demographic by consistently pairing their products with the content that millennials value. 

3 - Planning = Buying

Okay, so millennials make lists and love authentic inspiration, but what about brass tax? Are shoppers following through and purchasing items from their lists and inspo? Here's the golden nugget: YES, indeed, millennials are sticking to their shopping lists when making purchases. One way to think about it is as the 80/80 rule: studies show that over 80% of millennials purchase 80% of the items on their lists (and a significant portion buy nearly everything!) Winning the pre-shop phase is critical to winning at checkout. Once your brand is on shoppers’ lists, the chances of purchasing it skyrocket.

The shopping wins aren’t limited to only digital or in-person purchases; brand influence follows the shopper BOTH in-store and online (a win-win-win for the omnichannel shopper, brands, and retailer partners). Millennials stick to their lists, and savvy brands who want to capture Gen Y’s attention need to show up where they can significantly increase their chance of conversion at checkout. 

Turning Insights into Action: How to Capture the Millennial Market

Now that you understand the power of the millennial shopper, here are some actionable strategies to reach them effectively:

  • Reach them during pre-shop. Millennials prioritize planning, which means brands who connect with Gen Y during the pre-shop planning phase have a leg up in their messaging influence. Partnering with an ad solution provider specializing in pre-shop can help brands quickly and effectively reach an engaged audience poised to buy promoted products. 
  • Inspire with recipe content: Whether planning a meal, researching nutrition tips, or preparing for a special occasion, millennials turn to recipes for their inspiration. Prioritizing product alignment with recipe content, apps and websites puts brands in an enviable position to win over the largest generation during the valuable pre-shop planning phase. 
  • Turn impressions into action: Utilize digital advertising solutions like AdAdapted to bridge the gap between online ad impressions and concrete consumer actions. A partner like AdAdapted facilitates adding your products directly to shopping lists or online carts (Save Now, Act Later), converting initial interest into actual purchases.

By prioritizing millennial CPG shoppers and implementing these tactics, brands can unlock a loyal and valuable customer base whose purchasing power is only growing. Understanding any demographic group’s unique digital planning habits is the key to winning their hearts (and shopping carts) over time. To learn more about shopping behavior in other demographic groups, check out the full Pre-Shop Planning Report! 

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