The emerging Millennial generation is a restless, moving target for both brands and retailers who must find new ways to influence them, by better understanding their behaviour and fundamentally adapting their offering accordingly.

That’s the message from category and shopper management specialist Bridgethorne after the publication of its latest Bridgethorne Shopper Index, a quarterly survey that gauges shopper opinions for satisfaction, loyalty and future propensity to purchase.

The latest Index reveals that the emerging generation has a broader set of shopping missions and is clearly more disposed to e-commerce; is less likely to be influenced by ‘Loyalty’ mechanics; is the least satisfied of all the demographic groups with their shopping and consumption experiences, and shops for different things to other generations. For example, Millennials are more likely to purchase skin care products and snacks and soft drinks but much less likely to buy fresh fruit and vegetables than those in other more established life stages.

Millennials also show the lowest levels of loyalty and the way they shop is more fragmented than other age groups. For example, whereas a massive 94% of the over 55s have used a supermarket loyalty card, that figure falls to just 71% of the 18-34 age group.

In addition, in terms of the way it shops, Millennials are shopping in almost as many different basket formats as families, but rather than being driven by greater needs, it is potentially their lower level of satisfaction that is driving their greater propensity to shop around. The Index reports that just 31% of 18-34 year olds are satisfied with the products they buy in the major supermarkets and just 29% are satisfied with their shopping experience. In contrast 58% of the over 55s are satisfied with their products and 49% satisfied with their shopping experience. Millennials are also the age group most likely to shop for just one or two items or do a large monthly shop but the least likely of all age groups to do a large weekly shop.

“The reality is that Millennial generation, particularly at the younger end, is evolving into a distinctive cohort with completely different living, shopping and consumption anchor points,” explains John Nevens, Joint Managing Director, Bridgethorne.

“Their consumption and shopping journeys are relatively fragmented and their preferences are shaped not just by their family at home but, more than ever, by external factors such as the economy, technology – which is a major catalyst in the rate of change – media consumption and lifestyle.”

Nevens adds that, in order to remain relevant over the long term, retailers and manufacturers must find a more effective way of influencing this generation, by better understanding their behaviour and fundamentally adapting their offering, as more established, traditional methods look likely to be less effective for this new generation of shoppers.