The paradox of young consumers

Mar 14, 2023 | Consumer | 0 comments

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The changing needs of consumers will continue to reshape preferences for food categories, product forms and the origins and systems to produce and deliver them.

Young consumers are a force to be reckoned with, with vastly different spending propensities. In the EU, the group consists of 125m people between 10 – 34, while the cohort totals 110m in the US where the group accounts for 30% of total household spending, totalling US$2.7trn in 2021.

But despite being a force to be reckoned with – at least in size – young consumers are characterised by thin wallets and expensive tastes, valuing convenience and social conscience, and wanting seamless and personal shopping. According to McKinsey, American millennials and Gen Zs have accumulated way less wealth than Gen X and Boomers at the same age. In a McKinsey study published in 2022, a quarter of Gen Zs said they doubted they would be able to afford to retire and less than half believed they would own a home. The group’s shopping habits and expectations are shaped in an age with smartphones and 24/7 wifi access and models such as Uber. The “always open” ecommerce has created expectations that shopping is smooth and lowered tolerances for long delivery times.

New ways of shopping enable young consumers to make more informed view of the companies they buy from with survey’s showing that 7 in 10 GenZs across six counties fact-check claims made in ads. How and what young consumers buy is changing with wellness and luxury considered essentials rather than discretionary spending. With an appetite for instant gratification, young consumers are attributed the invention of quick commerce, which is affordable as it fails to price in its externalities.  

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