From technology to consumer product goods, millennials are changing the landscape of the world we live in. Also known as Generation Y, millennials were born between 1980 – 1995 with technology at their fingertips and an inherent need to multitask.* Marketers look at millennials and see the nightmares that keep them up at night. Unlike the well-studied and understood Baby Boomers—the largest impactful generation previously, millennials appear to be eccentric and unloyal shoppers.
- Rarely use a shopping list, decisions are made at shelf
- Only one in five set a budget before shopping
- View purchasing private label brands as socially acceptable
- Task-oriented shoppers, purchasing products only when they run out
- Don’t research products online
- Main resource for product information are peers or customer reviews
- Most shop alone at grocery stores
- Prefer specialty stores to large box stores
- Want tangible discounts such as 15 percent more product or BOGOs (Buy One Get One) instead of digital coupons**
So, what is it millennials are searching for when they browse the shelf?
Millennials have been the strongest advocates for health in CPGs. They don’t just want healthy options; they expect them. Their tech-savvy has given them unlimited access to information and now they expect the brands they buy to share the same transparency. They want to know every process of their product’s life cycle from where it was grown/made, who made it, to the quality of the ingredients and how many are in the product. It doesn’t stop there; they also want to know whether the company producing the product has corporate social responsibility and if the packaging is sustainable. Did I mention they expect the product to be affordable? With 80 million millennials, the sooner brands embrace the millennials’ expectations, the quicker their products will disappear from shelves.
CLEAR COMMUNICATION OF QUALITY AND INGREDIENTS
Late July is a brand known for its always Organic and Non-GMO products. When they launched a line of mini sandwich cookies and bite size crackers—appealing to the growing segment of millennial mom’s choosing healthy options for their children—Late July included quality descriptors on the package. (Produced Without Synthetic Pesticides, No Trans Fat or Corn Syrup, No Artificial Flavors, Colors, or Preservatives). A USDA Organic seal and Quality Assurance International seal prove the organic product claims. Quickly and clearly communicating the quality of the ingredients is one way to win millennials purchase decision.
Elemental Essentialz, a Texas based eco-friendly household cleaning products company uses repurposed wine bottles to hold their safe, zero-waste household cleaners. This mindfulness to both product and packaging is exactly the type of sustainability and corporate responsibility millennials search for on shelves.
White Rock Beverages, an American brand since 1871, know consumers—especially millennials are looking for health benefits when grocery shopping. In order to convey the brand’s premium position regarding purity, integrity, flavor, and value, White Rock uses callouts to draw the consumer’s attention and differentiate from competitors. The callouts on the package include triple filtered water, use of cane sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup (mixers), zero sodium (club sodas), and zero calories (except ginger ale and tonic water). The health benefits of White Rock beverages versus other carbonated drinks is clearly represented and help consumers searching for a healthier option make an easy decision.
Apps like Instagram have allowed millenials to become powerful voices for products and packaging. Where once, a person may recommend a product to a few friends, now they can share their recommendations with the world. Hashtags like #foodstagram on cell phone images have created an obsession with the visual appeal of food. Companies like Udi’s Gluten Free have embraced this obsession. Udi’s products utilize windows and high quality photography to give the customer a clear sense of what they are purchasing.
YoCrunch embraces the fast health conscious lifestyle most Millennials lead. Their low fat yogurt, combined with the variety of toppings (from whole grain granola to M&M’s) in their separated domed top cups, is a perfect convenient option for the multitasking millennial.
With an enthusiastic push toward health, millennials are changing the way products are made and packaged, and it seems, brands are letting them.
[Disclosure: All product packaging in this article was designed by Hughes Design Group]