Gen Z Splurges on Grocery Treats as Older Consumers Cut Back

As older consumers look for ways to reduce their grocery spending in the face of elevated food inflation, most young shoppers continue to splurge on the extra items they want, PYMNTS research reveals.

By the Numbers

Data from the latest installment of PYMNTS’ Consumer Inflation Sentiment series, “Consumer Inflation Sentiment Report: Consumers Cut Back by Trading Down,” which draws from an April survey of more than 2,000 U.S. consumers, reveals that 59% of baby boomers and seniors and 61% of gen X consumers are decreasing spend on nonessential items at the grocery store in response to inflation.

In contrast, less than half of Gen Z grocery shoppers — 41% — reported doing the same.

The Data in Context

Overall, as the rate of grocery inflation decreases, consumers are becoming less concerned about price increases, Barbara Connors, vice president of strategy and acceleration at 84.51°, Kroger’s retail data science, insights and media company, noted in a recent interview with PYMNTS, prompting some shoppers who had cut back to start purchasing their favorite nonessential products once again.

“Cutting back on nonessential items is the one top inflationary behavior that we’ve seen on this slow, steady decline as we’ve seen inflation cool,” Connors said. “We see that categories around impulse and indulgence are areas where customers can start to add them back into their basket again, because they’ve got a little more of that disposable income available for their groceries.”

Indeed, grocers are seeing basket sizes hold steady or increase relative to last year. For instance, specialty grocer Natural Grocers, which has 166 stores across 21 states, shared on its most recent earnings call that its daily average transaction size was flat year over year. Plus, Grocery Outlet, which has more than 440 stores across eight states, stated in its most recent financial results that it saw a 4% increase in average transaction size year over year.