Gen Z grocery shopping trends

Consumer insights and trends

CheckoutSmart blog

03 Nov 2020

Loosely defined as those born in 1995 and later, Generation Z has now come of age as a grocery shopping force in its own right. So what should you expect from America’s latest cohort of CPG buyers? 

Some things (e.g. the importance of social, mobile and the digital world) will come as no surprise. But other things might. Not least, this is the savviest generation yet, and no amount of cool Insta images will make up for an absence of trustworthy customer feedback as a trust builder. 

So the first tip is to avoid lazy assumptions, and the second is to take a look at some of the main trends that we’re actually seeing on the ground. Here they are…

In-store experiences are still important 

Often described as digitally native, this doesn’t mean that Generation Z are digital only

This is especially the case for grocery shopping. And while it’s the case that many of America’s centennials have sought to online shopping for their groceries, it is not necessarily their preferred destination for grocer shopping. Of the average $550 they spend each month on groceries, Gen Z households spend just $85 (15%) of this online. This is actually lower than their older millennial cousins (26%).

Gen Z seems to especially value autonomy, including the ability to choose their own produce and explore new products in the flesh. And while they are less willing and able to do a long commute, they enjoy the retailer in-store experience. 

So while Gen Z may head instinctively to an online retailer to find out about your grocery brand, they are still highly likely to purchase in-store. It helps demonstrate just how important it is to provide a joined-up online/offline ‘omnichannel’ brand message and experience.

85% of online supermarket shoppers read reviews in the Health & Beauty category, one the highest overall.

- CheckoutSmart research (3,710 online grocery shoppers)


More organized than you might think

Young doesn’t necessarily translate to impulsive, especially for grocer shopping. Retail Leader explains that 59% of millennials and 51% of Gen Zs create lists as shopping aids. Around a third of each cohort take the time to use coupons for their grocer shopping. 

It shows that well targeted discount offers are likely to hit home with Gen Zs. There may also be an opportunity for you to be proactive in helping them manage their budget: e.g. by fine tuning the recommendations or ‘customers also bought’ section of your online shop. 

Social brand communication 

Where Facebook just about tops the list as the favoured social platform for millennials, it doesn’t even make the top three for Gen Z. Their clear favourite is Instagram, used by 73% of Gen Z adults, followed by Snapchat and YouTube. 

From Instagram, Gen Z users are primarily looking at images for inspiration and ideas. At the same time, 70% of older teens cite Instagram as their channel of choice for receiving information from brands about prices and promotions. So rather than just being a place to showcase awesome images and recipes, Instagram is worth placing front and center in product launches and showcasing positive feedback. 

Reviews and feedback 

When you’re a digital native, you’re not easily fooled. You know enough to realize that the most trusted voices on any product are those of people who you know, and genuine reviewers. 

So it comes as no surprise that friends & family top the list as the most trusted sources of information for centennials (82%), followed by product reviews (69%)

Winning the Gen Z buck means winning their trust. The message is that the need to generate and encourage high quality grocer product feedback remains as important as ever. 

To future proof your Gen Z growth strategy with a reliable source of genuine online grocery product reviews speak to CheckoutSmart today.




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