top of page

28/02/2019 – News / Retail / Millennials / Ecommerce / Online / Shopping / FMCG / Grocery

How US Millennials are shaping online FMCG shopping trends – Nielsen report


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 – says leading market research firm Nielsen.


According to the latest Nielsen Category Shopping Fundamentals study, as detailed in its recent  ‘Millennials on Millennials’ report, 60 per cent of US consumers’ FMCG decisions are still made at the shelf. This is a key insight for retailers, as is the fact that Millennials already spend more per trip than any other generation, with an average basket size of US$57. 


However, what is equally important is understanding the influence that digital has on influencing consumers on their way to the shelf. 


Not surprisingly, Millennials (which represent 26 per cent of households across America) 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.


Online isn’t just for research, however. 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 per cent saying they buy FMCG products online.


The Millennial household


US Millennial households are the most racially and ethnically diverse generation to date: 20 per cent are Hispanic (the most of any generation to date), 12 per cent are African American, seven per cent are Asian, and 12 per cent comprise a selection of other races. Millennial households also hold more college degrees than other generational households, leading to a higher proportion (40 per cent) that are part of the professional/managerial workforce, with the majority making over US$50,000 per year.


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 US household, finds Nielsen’s data. 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.


Upwardly mobile


Beyond that, Nielsen’s report stresses the importance for businesses to understand how Millennials get online. Notably, they are highly mobile, with their smartphones increasingly becoming the go-to device when it’s time to shop. Millennials make just under half of their online purchases from a desktop or laptop – less than all older generations. And they make 40 per cent of such purchases via mobile phone, which is a full 10 per cent higher than Gen-Xers. And despite industry buzz surrounding smart devices, they have yet to catch on with consumers for shopping – indeed, so-called smart speakers are still used for listening to music by the vast majority of consumers. 


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 are 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 Nielsen’s ‘Millennials on Millennials: US Shopping Insights in a New Era’ report here:

Latest issue – Vol 1/23
– Health & Nutrition focus
– Gulfood 2023 Special
– Next level legume – The rise of the chickpea
  • Twitter Social Icon
  • Facebook Social Icon

Interpack 2023



Milan, Italy

The Hotel & Hospitality Show 2023

Sandton Convention Centre, South Africa

bottom of page