27 Oct 2023Read of the weekRead of the week: the Gen Y and Z grocery divide widens

A study has revealed a generational divide between the way Gen Y and Z grocery shop, as the former more often buy groceries online via delivery or curbside pickup. Busy Gen Yers are looking to take their time back, and the opportunity for brands is to make shopping as frictionless as possible.

J’Nae PhillipsJ'Nae Phillips is an Insights Editor at Canvas8. After an early career working in fashion and media, her passion for culture and journalism grew and she made the transition to writing and editing full-time. She specialises in fashion, trends, cultural shifts and all of the good stuff that gets people talking.

A 2023 study from PYMNTS has revealed that, despite the stereotype of their generation as hopelessly tech-reliant, Gen Zers prefer to grocery shop in person much more than their Gen Y counterparts. Whereas Gen Yers, born between 1980 and 1989, have increased their online grocery spending by 15% year over year even after the pandemic caused curbside pickup to plateau for other generations.

This intel hints at the relatively cash-rich and time-poor nature of Gen Yers, who are more likely to have families and more senior-level roles at their jobs, meaning they’re willing to pay a premium for essentials to recoup precious time. As they progress to different life stages, convenience may mean different things to Gen Y and Z with 58% of UK Gen Yers more likely to buy grocery products mostly via e-commerce.

Online grocery delivery may have plateaued, but curbside pickup is 66% higher year over year. This points to a new habit of repeat orders for people with families, as time-poor Gen Yers may have enough time to pick up groceries but would prefer not to spend an hour putting them in a cart themselves.