top of page

Gen Z: The New Wave of Grocery Shoppers

Everyone has to go grocery shopping— even Generation Z, the newest generation to rise into adulthood in recent years. Growing up in the digital age, Gen Z is known for being the tech-savviest generation yet. But does that apply to their grocery shopping habits, too? We, at The ExperienceBuilt Group, conducted a study to learn what Gen Z shoppers were looking for in their grocery shopping experiences so we can help companies best cater to the newest group of household shoppers.

Most respondents actually prefer shopping in-store.

While technology offers an extra layer of convenience we all seek, shoppers like having full control over what they buy and like to scope out what products are available. Although online shopping is great for buying shoes, it’s not so great for buying perishable items. If you’re bringing guacamole to a dinner party tomorrow, you need to know that the avocados you buy today will be ripe enough to use when you need them. You can guarantee that when you pick them yourself; however, buying online doesn’t give you that information. Many who have tried shopping online have also had negative experiences that have pushed them back into stores. Unexpected high delivery fees, late deliveries, damaged purchases, and many item substitutions are just a few of the ways online grocery orders can go south.

Many visit multiple stores for varying needs.

Nearly all the respondents no longer have a single preferred grocery destination because a single store alone can’t fulfill all their needs. Most visit different stores for niche products, fresh produce, bulking needs, and the best deals. Shoppers looking for convenience just visit their tried and true location to save time and to save money on gas, but there are many benefits to visiting many locations. Some products are cheaper or are only available at certain stores, some stores have better deals or promotions from week to week, and some stores just fulfill different needs (like Trader Joe’s for easy work lunches vs. Costco for long-term pantry stocking).

Ultimately, Gen Z shoppers’ top priority is to save time and money.

This means shoppers plan ahead of time by creating a shopping list and checking discounts or promotions from various stores to see which will help them save the most money. The ease of commute heavily impacts which stores shoppers will choose to shop at as well, and most respondents tend to visit stores that are close to where they live or work to save time on shopping trips and money on gas. Those who don’t have a car need to visit stores within walking distance, so most Gen Z in-store shoppers are shopping close to home. While sometimes online shopping increases convenience, the other potentially undesirable variables that come along with it (high delivery fees, damaged/spoiled goods, etc.) keep shoppers from making it their primary shopping channel.

So, what does this mean for grocery stores?

Because Gen Z is primarily shopping in-store, it’s important to continue making improvements where you can. In-store shoppers are looking for:

  • Easy navigation

  • Intuitive layouts

  • Clear signage and labeling

  • Efficient checkout

  • Smart functionalities

  • Cleanliness (especially post-pandemic)

While online shopping isn’t always Gen Z’s primary channel, that doesn’t mean it’s time to shift your strategy. Strive to create an online grocery shopping experience that converts customers from in-store to online shoppers. Creating excellent experiences is all it takes to become a leader in the market. Online shoppers want:

  • Easy browsing and searching

  • Intuitive site navigation and layout

  • Clear images and thorough information on product pages

  • Seamless and transparent checkout (no hidden fees!)

  • Affordable prices and no delivery fees

  • Consistently accurate, well-packaged, timely deliveries

  • Flexible delivery/pickup options

Download our Grocery Experience Evaluation workbook to learn more about what Gen Z shoppers want. Use our worksheets to evaluate the in-store and online grocery experiences you’re providing, and find out what you can do to start improving your CX today.


bottom of page