Together, Millennials and Baby Boomers represent 55% of Canada’s population (27% and 28%, respectively) and a wealth of spending power. While these two groups are similar in size, with such an extended age gap, it’s no surprise that they shop differently and have varying tastes and preferences. However, these preferences may not be as different as one might think.
In a recently conducted EquiTrend study, released by Nielsen, consumers’ view of whether brands are “on the way up,” “holding steady” or “on the way down’ was examined. Brand momentum is an important measure, as it is a good indicator of future equity growth. Many products and brands on this year's list that spanned both generations, including Tim Hortons Coffee, McCafe Coffee, Almond Breeze Milk and Lindt chocolates.
These products that both Millennials and Baby Boomers favour are part of large categories that are important to retailers, manufacturers and farmers across Canada, including coffee, milk, yogurt and chocolate. Milk alone represented $2.5 billion in sales in the last year (the 52 weeks ending July 23, 2016), while alternative milks (soy, rice and nut) accounted more than $270 million in the same period. Regular milk sales have held steady over the past year while alternative milks saw an increase of 7% over the previous year. Almond milk represents the largest portion of the alternative milk category with over $165 million in sales and still growing.
The coffee category also sees many similarities between the generations, and these categories represent an impressive amount of consumer spending power. Coffee (including roast/ground and instant) accounts for $1.45 billion in sales across the country.
While Millennials and Baby Boomers may be making similar choices in the grocery aisles, how they’re shopping differs. Millennials make on average 116.5 trips to the grocery store per year, spending $61 per trip, while their older Baby Boomer counterparts make 186.2 trips and spend $50 per trip. Knowing that both Millennials and Baby Boomers have a preference for similar brands, retailers and manufacturers must be aware of the differences between the generations and how to appeal and market to the varying demographics.
EquiTrend is based on a total sample of 19,944 Canadian consumers ages 18 and over surveyed online between Dec. 23, 2015, and Jan. 20, 2016. Respondents had the choice to complete the survey in English or French language. The survey took an average of 30 minutes to complete. The total number of brands rated was 777. Each respondent was asked to rate a total of 40 randomly selected brands. Each brand received approximately 1,000 ratings. Respondents were asked their familiarity with brands and rated the brands they were somewhat, very, or extremely familiar with. Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll® surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in our panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. Data were weighted to be representative of the entire Canadian population of consumers ages 18 and over based on age, gender, education, language, region, race and their propensity to be online.