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Livestreams and Late-Night Snacks: What Drives Gen Z to Buy?

Kristen Groh Kendra King
Kristen Groh Kendra King

What Happens When Hunger Strikes?

With more ways to buy our favorite snacks, how people satisfy their cravings is changing. So, in 2020, we surveyed 500 Millennial and Gen Z buyers to figure out what drives impulse food and beverage purchases, how they engage with brands and where they go to find new products that inspire them. Here’s what we found.

Social media, livestreaming. Reallife moments. To remain relevant, consumer products companies need to create experiences that cater to changing consumer behavior and demand. See the journey come to life.

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Deal-Saving Snacks

Right now, the food and beverage category is a smaller slice of the online pie, accounting for only 14 percent of total impulse purchases. Average basket cost also tends to be lower, with 76 percent of purchases at $50 or less and 30 percent under $10.

According to our research, Gen Z and Millennials prefer to shop budget friendly. Instead of buying lunch during work or school, some opt to reach into their pantry and grab a snack or drink they can eat while taking a break with their favorite podcast or YouTube show.

Something to Share

Gen Z and Millennial buyers are all about sharing a meal. When compared to other digital buyers, food and beverage shoppers are 16 percent more likely to buy items for people other than themselves. Purchases are also driven by familiarity – more than 70 percent of buyers say they buy items from brands they’ve purchased from before, and 75 percent have an account with the channel they regularly choose to buy from.

Inspired by Influencers

Impulse purchases are all about being in the moment. Our research finds that Millennial and Gen Z buyers are often inspired by channels they already use in everyday life.

Channels like social media and YouTube are a popular medium for consumers to interact with influencers, who often leverage their platforms to livestream product reviews, demonstrations (how-tos) or even just an occasional “shout out.”

Driven by Delivery

Food and beverage impulse buyers are hungry for quick and seamless delivery. When compared to other types of digital shoppers, food and beverage impulse buyers are more than twice as likely to order from grocery-specific retailers and food service delivery companies. The online marketplace is also a coveted channel, capturing close to one-third of all food and beverage impulse purchases.

Turning Impulse Buys into Lasting Brand Loyalty

Focus on replenishment

Food and beverage buyers are often people of habit – they frequently buy the same items over and over again. This poses opportunity for brands to become a part of the routine, with replenishment offers and subscription programs that ensure buyers always have their go-tos on hand.

Use personalization to inspire new purchases

Gen Z and Millennials know what they like. But they also like the excitement of trying something new. For companies that have already built some loyalty, a deep understanding of customer preferences and buying habits can help brands spin up personalized recommendations for new products to try or add-ons that may complement their regular order – increasing basket size, while also inspiring impulse choices that could become a new favorite.

Personalization can help break down the barriers for loyalty too. A data-driven approach can help brands refine how they target potential new customers, with a cost-effective strategy that ensures the right product recommendations or offers appear only for customers with the highest propensity to buy.

Get Social

Partnering with the right influencers and creating shoppable social experiences can help brands become part of everyday moments. For example, Wendy’s Twitch channel lets gamers watch the “brand” play Fortnite, a multiplayer video game, via livestream. Twitch events are promoted on Twitter, and a chat feature lets gamers interact directly with the brand throughout the stream.

While gamers are watching the stream, a simple click can take them to a site where they can order a snack or unlock special offers. According to our research, food and beverage shoppers are more likely to buy fresh food and beverages this way when compared to other categories and tend to do this more often when the experience is tied to their favorite influencers.

Optimize Fulfillment

Food and beverage shoppers don’t want to wait longer than they have to. Optimizing direct-to-consumer (D2C) fulfillment to provide quick and easy service is critical for turning consideration into conversion.

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Kristen Groh
Kristen Groh
GVP, Managing Partner North America Consumer Products Lead
Kendra King
Kendra King
VP, CX and Innovation North America Consumer Products Lead