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PepsiCo looks beyond millennials

News, 09 January 2015

BOCA RATON, FL: Brands and retailers must not fall victim to focusing their attention solely on millennials, despite the obvious appeal of this audience, a leading executive from PepsiCo has argued.

Brian Walsh, senior director/shopper insights for North American Beverages at PepsiCo, discussed this topic at The Market Research Event (TMRE), a conference convened by the Institute for International Research (IIR).

And he affirmed that millennials are a vitally important demographic for marketers in almost every retail category.

"They spend about 20% more, so they are bigger baskets. By 2020, their buying power is going to be 30% of all purchases," he said. (For more, including how the firm breaks down the "typical food and beverage day", read Warc's exclusive report: PepsiCo's shopper strategy looks beyond millennials.)

Walsh warned, though, that these customers cannot drive growth for every product featured on store shelves. "Everyone is going after millennials," he said. "We can't all go after millennials. We have to diversify."

More specifically, the preferences of boomers remain a crucial area to analyse, alongside the wants and needs of their younger counterparts.

"It's a big part of the pie. That's why we focus on those two in particular. And because they are so different, they are kind of at extremes in some ways," said Walsh.

"It's not one size fits all anymore. You have different shoppers in your store and they are looking for different things. If you don't give it to them, the next guy down the street certainly is going to."

A major point of distinction involves value. Boomers, Walsh reported, are "very, very value-conscious" and "very benefit-conscious as well", thus demanding a balanced approach meeting each of these requirements.

Millennials, however, generally exhibit a different set of considerations when making their buying decisions.

"One thing we know about millennials is: it's all about experience. So they will trade off value if they feel they're getting the experience part. It's not that value is not important; value is," said Walsh.

"But because they're technology driven, because they are expecting certain interaction with the products, they can be very brand loyal ... It's making that right trade-off between value and benefit."

Data sourced from Warc