There’s no denying the impact and influence that digital technologies have on our lives, particularly among younger generations. But even in a world that is steadily heading online, it’s important for manufacturers, brands and retailers to understand that brick-and-mortar environments are not fading in importance—even among Millennials.
According to the latest Nielsen Category Shopping Fundamentals study, as detailed in our recent Millennials on Millennials report, 60% of U.S. consumers’ FMCG decisions are still made at the shelf. This is a key insight for retailers, but so is understanding the influence that digital has on influencing consumers on their way to the shelf. Not surprisingly, Millennials are more active on social media than older generations, and this affects the way they look for information as they shop. For example, Millennials are significantly more likely than the broader population to conduct online research for common items like food and cleaning products.
But online isn’t just for research. It’s also fast becoming a viable shopping channel—even for fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG). In fact, Millennials are driving the growth of online shopping for FMCG products, with 61% saying they buy FMCG products online.
As Millennials enter adulthood and become parents, their shopping patterns change, as do the products they buy. For example, they buy more household items, baby care and meal kits than the average U.S. household. And while all Americans prefer to receive their online purchases at their homes instead of picking them up in store or curbside, Millennials are more likely than other generations to consider e-tailers that offer subscription services. In fact, three out of the five top FMCG categories they buy online are subscription-based.
It’s also important to know how Millennials get online. Notably, they’re highly mobile, and their smartphones are increasingly becoming their go-to devices when it’s time to shop. They make just under 50% of their online purchases from a desktop / laptop, less than all older generations, and they make 40% of their purchases via mobile phone, which is a full 10% higher than Gen-Xers. And despite industry buzz around smart devices, they have yet to catch on with consumers for shopping.
Despite being heavily influenced by on-shelf options, Millennials are much more comfortable searching online and consulting social media when researching products to purchase. They’re also the heaviest adopters of online FMCG purchases and subscription-based services, driving home the importance of keeping up with current trends to remain both relevant and competitive.
For additional insights, download our Millennials on Millennials: U.S. Shopping Insights in a New Era report.