Understanding millennial shopping habits: Insights from Coca-Cola

Stephen Whiteside

Few companies have consistently tapped new social and cultural trends like Coca-Cola. And in determining how to engage millennials – the 80 million consumers born in the US between 1978 and 1995 – the company has discovered that this young, digitally-savvy audience demands a fundamental rethink in tried and tested strategies.

"A lot of us are used to marketing to boomers and Gen X-ers; millennials are a totally different animal," Daren Sorenson, Coca-Cola's director of shopper marketing insights, told delegates at the Shopper Marketing Expo, held in October 2013. "It's all about belonging, sharing; they're the most connected generation ever. They like flexibility [and] authenticity. They also like personalisation as well."

Currently, members of this group make up 25% of the American population and head 21% of households nationwide – a figure which will only increase from here on. "With millennials, the reason why we're probably all really concerned as CPGs and retailers is that they're the biggest generation in US history," said Sorenson.