Who are the new online grocery shoppers?

Emerging Shopper Profiles

Buckle up!

A whopping 28% of OG shoppers made their first ever online grocery order in March due to COVID19.1 These shoppers, who’ve adopted OG out of necessity, represent a new demographic in the space.

Of consumers who’ve reported changing their grocery shopping habits in response to the outbreak, the biggest changes came from Generation X (40-55 yo) and Boomers (56-74 yo)1

What are new OG shoppers looking for?

Boomers spend $230B annually on consumer packaged goods while Gen X’ers spend more on food and wine than any other generation.2   These shoppers like to research before purchasing yet are the least likely group to be influenced by online reviews.3  Influencer campaigns may be less effective with Gen X and Boomer shoppers.  They value quality, customization and convenienceand are the most likely group to have groceries delivered.  When it comes to online shopping, they prefer laptops and desktops to mobile devices.3

 Some X’ers also have children in the home, so they’re shaping their kids’ tastes as well, giving brands the opportunity to form loyalties with the next generation of shoppers.2

According to Nielsen, consumers are concerned about safety & hygiene, where products come from and how many hands touch them before arriving. They’re looking for “contactless experiences”.4

Shoppers are also looking to authenticate information, “More than ever in the products we buy, we want to know that they do the job they say they do… easy authentication & understanding what I’m buying is going to do the right thing for me and my family.”4  — Scott McKenzie, Nielsen

The online shopper pool is growing AND becoming more demographically diverse – and it’s forcing us to make shifts in our online targeting tactics.

For example:

  • Different age groups shop at different times & days, so consider week and day-parting based on age profiles
  • Speak directly to their desire for a contactless experience with delivery messaging and targeting tactics
  • Make sure your campaigns are cross-device and not mobile only, as you’ll miss these laptop/desktop shoppers

So why is this shake-up in shopping habits important to Brands? When people change habits, they become more open to fresh ideas. Simply put, it’s an opportunity to win market share now and build brand loyalty in the next generation of shoppers.


  1. Acosta Study, March 2020, as printed in Supermarket News, 4/15/20
  2. Grocery Dive, 8/21/19
  3. Blackhawk Network, “Retail Marketers: Top Shopping Behaviors for Gen X and Boomers,” 8/14/19
  4. Nielsen, “Living Beyond COVID 19,” as printed in Supermarket News, 5/8/20