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The New Consumer (January-February 2023)

Digital Commerce Trends: Separate research from Rain the Growth Agency and Chicory examines how shoppers, brands and retailers are being impacted.

The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated digital shopping behaviors across the board over the last few years and subsequently impacted how brands reach consumers. Recent research examining these trends and behaviors closely, particularly as they relate to the affluent Baby Boomer demographic, shows how things have quickly evolved.

Rain the Growth Agency, an independent DTC advertising agency, in December published a report titled “Boomers Digital Shopping Trends,” which looks at the social media platforms, apps and other digital tools that are impacting buying decisions.

The report identified three discrete segments within the Boomer population, which Rain the Growth says represents more than $2.6 trillion in buying power: “Nostalgic Conservatives,” “Seniors Living Simply” and “Progressive, Knowledgeable Nesters.”

Key findings from the report include:

  • Boomers primarily use digital tools (e.g., Amazon, search, retailer and brand websites, product reviews, mobile apps) to make shopping easier (47%) and to save money (45%) and time (40%).
  • With Boomer social media users, Meta’s Facebook and YouTube are the primary platforms (78% and 63% usage rates, respectively), followed by Etsy and Pinterest.
  • Younger, tech-savvy Boomers (ages 55-64) are more open to advertising, are active on social media (typically using a smartphone), and don’t shy away from video streaming services (77%).
  • Younger Boomers’ favored channels include TV (37%), direct mail (33%), print magazines (25%), billboards (25%), online (23%) and radio (22%).
  • Search is the shopping gateway for seniors — reinforcing the importance of investments in paid search.
  • 26% of seniors say that social media has inspired purchases from never-before considered brands and products.
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How CPGs, Grocers Are Responding

Brands and retailers are evolving how they target and connect with shoppers digitally as their behaviors change. Chicory released a report exploring how brands and grocery retailers are responding to key advertising trends, including the rise of retailer media networks (RMNs), the depreciation of third-party cookies and the emergence of new media tactics such as commerce media.

The “CPG and Grocery Digital Advertising Report” is based on survey results primarily from Chicory’s CPG clients, as well as a select number of grocery retailer partners.

Some key data points from the report include:

  • Growing e-commerce sales, followed by the rise of RMNs, had the greatest impact on CPG advertising strategies over the past 12 months.
  • The emergence of new media tactics is expected to have the greatest impact on CPG advertising strategies over the next 12 months.
  • 84% of respondents said in-recipe commerce media (e.g., shoppable recipes) will be the most popular commerce media tactic in 2023, then retail media strategies, on-site and off-site.
  • Amid inflation, add-to-cart value has increased 28% year-over-year while item count remains the same, per Chicory recipe network data.

In addition, most CPG marketers said they are “satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” with their current RMN relationships and feel optimistic about digital advertising in 2023. Their main concerns include budget requirements, internal bandwidth and ROAS/effectiveness.

For retailers, the top challenges they faced in 2022 include:

  • Managing different partners and technologies (due to the emergence of new media tactics).
  • Alignment among internal teams that interact with the CPG community.
  • Increased competition with other RMNs.
  • Competing for media spend with digital-first grocery delivery platforms.
  • High advertising demand.

Other trends and predictions echoed by study respondents regarding the future of grocery advertising related to growth in the metaverse, connected TV, increased privacy as well as a shift to prioritize off-site media with the latest integrations with DSP providers.

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