17 November 2020, 08:45 AM
  • Research by IGD has identified a group of shoppers who are digitally savvy, experimental and willing to spend more for quality
Who are Generation P and how can fine food retailers target them?

Generation Perennial may be virtually unheard of until now. If you are not quite familiar with the term, Generation P, or Gen P, are a demographic highlighted by new research conducted by IGD as a vital target audience for retailers.

The age group of between 50-64, could represent a huge impact on the international grocery sector, with an increase of $116bn in spending over the next couple of years. IGD estimates that by 2022, the global grocery industry could have a $1,460bn opportunity on their hands.

So why does Generation P provide such a vast and potentially lucrative opportunity for the fine food industry?
 
Research published by IGD showed that the Perennial Shoppers, on an international level, are increasingly buying groceries online, with 56% buying food online sometimes, and 33% predicting they will do so more in the future.

Generation P are becoming more digitally and technologically savvy, and with lockdown limiting those who could not get to shops in person, the fine food industry can take advantage of this age group’s willingness to experiment with new technologies.

Simon Wainwright, IGD’s director of global insight, said: “Perennials have embedded digital and online behaviours which they will carry forward and continue to develop into later life.

“However, this is a generation that doesn’t go digital purely for the sake of going digital – adoption of new technologies for them is driven by their proven practical benefits, and these have to outweigh those of established interactions and processes, such as traditional ‘analogue’ store-based shopping.”

The impact that the coronavirus pandemic may have had on these responses must be taken into account, however, since the research was conducted in March 2020, on the cusp of the first lockdown in England.

According to the research, 67% of Generation P shoppers were found to purchase brands that they had grown up with, and the same number (68%) indicated they were satisfied with the quality of own-branded products – with 58% of shoppers trusting them as much as brands.

However, a significant 75% of Generation P said they were tempted to spend more on products of a better quality. So what can fine food retailers do to invest in this audience and make sure that they benefit from the opportunities presented by Generation P?

A spokesperson for IGD said: “We know that this group has a willingness to shop locally even if it costs them a bit more.

“Provenance and the environment are also important factors for this group.”

IGD noted that UK Perennials are the most likely to prioritise specific ethical and environmental factors in their shopping such as animal welfare (61% vs. 50% in US and 37% in Singapore), and reducing the amount of packaging (53% vs. 39% in USA and 26% in Singapore).

This provides a prime opportunity for independent food retailers when considering the local origin of their products. It’s likely that the fine food industry can use this to their advantage, especially farm shops that sell locally sourced products.

IGD’s spokesperson also noted other areas that the fine food industry can “dial up when communicating with Perennials”. For instance, by specifically gearing marketing and advertising toward Perennials, it’ll remind them that their customer loyalty is valued. Perennials will need that communication with fine food retailers to build a foundation for a fruitful relationship in the future.

Lockdown has changed attitudes toward food sales and retail, and with many industries shifting online, fine food retailers and wholesalers can follow suit by making adjustments to their revenue outlet, ensuring that a wider customer audience is met – including Generation P.

IGD identified UK Perennials as being very likely to be open to new and different grocery products, with 42% of them saying they do so. This presents a fine opportunity for speciality food retailers to reach out to them and present them with quality products, some of which they may not find in regular supermarkets.

Mr Wainwright concludes: “It is clear that they also continue to evolve in terms of their tastes and choices, showing an ongoing willingness to trial new and different products as well as pragmatic considerations such as balancing quality with value for money.”

Generation P could just be the opportunity that fine food retailers need to broaden their market audience.

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