The shoppers of the future will be time optimisers, health conscious, individual, experimental and socially conscious, according to new research from IGD. Launching today, the report identifies an emerging group of ‘Influencer Shoppers’ that currently represents around 25% of the total shopper population. But with this likely to increase over the coming years, IGD has identified the trends predicted to resonate most with this group that are likely to become more mainstream in future.
Set to replace baby boomers as the generation with the most purchasing power, the strongest voice and the biggest influence on the food chain, the Influencer Shopper will be highly engaged on health and particularly social issues. Indeed, 59% of Influencer Shoppers say recent TV shows, especially Blue Planet 2, have inspired them to make changes to support the environment as the David Attenborough effect gathers pace. They will also embrace new technologies to provide more personalisation during the grocery shopping experience and could have a strong influence on their peers. As such, the shoppers of the future will:
Be time optimisers. With 71% of 18-24-year-olds saying their lives will be busier in 5-10 years’ time, the grocery shopping experience will have to work harder so shoppers can optimise and make the most of their time.
Vanessa Henry, shopper insight manager at IGD said: “We’re experiencing an increasing array of leisure activities, with more time spent on social media and the internet chipping away at what time we have left for more traditional things like grocery shopping. Shoppers are relatively split in terms of their enjoyment of food and grocery shopping, so for retailers it’s about optimising their time in store and engaging with them whether they want to spend time shopping or grab and go.”
Be more health conscious. Health and wellbeing will grow in importance with subtle differences owing to individual motivations. Supporting shoppers both to look and feel good will be a major priority for both retailers and their suppliers in 2025, with 42% of 18-24-year-olds saying in the next 5-10 years they will be more likely to eat healthily to look good instead of just feel good. With 70% of shoppers wanting more information from UK food and grocery companies to inspire them to make healthier choices, nutritional messages should be kept as simple as possible to avoid confusion.
Henry said: “More people will be health conscious, but the Influencer Shopper’s motivations are different – they want to follow a healthier diet to look good as well as feel good. This “selfie generation”, with a willingness to share images and their lives on social media, is something older generations don’t relate to as much, however with increasing government legislation, investment from industry in healthier choices and growing intolerances we will see healthier choices forming a bigger part of the future shopper’s behaviours. This has implications for on pack messaging and targeting.”
Be more individual. The shopper of the future will be open to a more personalised food and grocery experience, but only if there is a clear benefit to them with minimal effort. Over half (56%) of Influencer Shoppers say they will be prepared to share data with supermarkets, so they can tailor their food and grocery offers to their individual needs. Growing demand for individualisation in this area suggests it will be key to engaging with future shoppers, with 61% of online grocery shoppers saying they would like it if online retailers personalised special offers based on what they buy regularly.
Vanessa Henry said: “More shoppers are open to sharing data and getting a more personal experience, and with the majority of shoppers seeing food and grocery as one of the more trusted sectors there are clearly opportunities for businesses to develop their personalised offer, as long as shoppers know they are getting a good return. Industry is currently behind on delivering this personal level of service but to shoppers it’s a no-brainer to get an individual experience, so the sector must catch up.
“Technology will be the enabler here. Smartphone technology in particular could be key to unlocking personalisation in-store, with relevant, tailored and timely notifications sent to shoppers’ mobile devices to help them to find what they want, discover new products and achieve best value. As this personal aspect is a big step for some shoppers and raises concerns about privacy, it’s important for businesses to offer and demonstrate some really tangible benefits to encourage early adoption.”
Be more experimental. The shopper of the future will increasingly experiment with their shopping and meal preparation to broaden their repertoires. Indeed, 80% of shoppers say they are open to trying new and different food and non-food products, services and experiences and 65% of Influencer Shoppers say in the future they will always try new meals and recipes. This is a growing trend, with 73% of grocery shoppers welcoming new food and grocery products, up from 58% in 2010.
Henry comments, “Shoppers are really open to being experimental and welcome being inspired in terms of recipes and what to cook. This is being driven by more travel, sophisticated foodservice, access to more information online and changes to ethnic mix which promote demand for new and different products. While this will apply to a majority of shoppers, some will stick with what is familiar to them so it’ll be important for businesses to continue meeting this group of shoppers’ needs.”
Be more socially conscious. Shoppers will want to make sustainable and ethical choices, but only if other needs are also satisfied, such as price, availability, and quality. Companies will have to respond on shoppers’ terms as it becomes a growing concern. Indeed, 74% of British grocery shoppers say they have become more aware of the environmental impact of plastic packaging over the last 12 months and 60% of under 35s say concern for the environment will be more important to them in the next 5-10 years. Additionally, 38% of Influencer Shoppers say they will always buy environmentally sustainable food and grocery products in the future, compared with 33% of shoppers in general.
Henry said: “Shoppers feel this is the right thing to do but in reality other needs, such as price or availability, will take priority ahead of social consciousness at this moment in time. The desire to do the right thing is strongly ingrained in most people. Provided the economy stays on track, shoppers will be finding more ways to express this through their shopping in 2025. To engage with these shopper needs businesses should make sure their packaging remains fully functional – shoppers will want solutions that don’t involve any trade-offs with quality, price, shelf life or ease of use.”
Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive of IGD, concludes: Grocery retail is undergoing a revolution, driven by mergers and acquisitions as well as evolving shopper expectations. This is set to continue over the coming years. Our sector is built around shoppers and their ever-evolving habits, attitudes, tastes and preferences – they sit at the heart of the industry after all. Adopting a future-focused mindset is essential for any retailer and manufacturer looking to succeed, and we look forward to joining that journey.