The shoppers of the future will be time optimisers, health conscious, individual, experimental and socially conscious, according to a new report from grocery research charity IGD, which identifies an emerging group of ‘influencer shoppers’ that currently represents around 25% of the total shopper population.

The research suggests that the ‘influencer shopper’ will replace baby boomers as the generation with the most purchasing power, the strongest voice and the biggest influence on the food chain, and will be highly engaged on health and particularly social issues. Nearly 60% of them say recent TV shows, such as Blue Planet 2, have inspired them to make changes to support the environment. The report says they will also embrace new technologies to provide more personalisation during the grocery shopping experience and could have a strong influence on their peers.

The shoppers of the future will be time optimisers, with 71% of 18-24-year-olds saying their lives will be busier in 5-10 years’ time, so the grocery shopping experience will have to work harder so shoppers can optimise and make the most of their time.

Vanessa Henry, Shopper Insight manager at IGD, said: “We’re experiencing an increasing array of leisure activities, with more time spent on social media and the internet chipping away at what time we have left for more traditional things like grocery shopping. Shoppers are relatively split in terms of their enjoyment of food and grocery shopping, so for retailers it’s about optimising their time in store and engaging with them whether they want to spend time shopping or grab and go.”

Health and wellbeing will grow in importance with subtle differences owing to individual motivations. Supporting shoppers both to look and feel good will be a major priority for both retailers and their suppliers in 2025, with 42% of 18-24-year-olds saying in the next 5-10 years they will be more likely to eat healthily to look good instead of just feel good.

The shopper of the future will also be open to a more personalised food and grocery experience, but only if there is a clear benefit to them with minimal effort.

“Technology will be the enabler here,” according to Henry. “Smartphone technology in particular could be key to unlocking personalisation in-store, with relevant, tailored and timely notifications sent to shoppers’ mobile devices to help them to find what they want, discover new products and achieve best value. As this personal aspect is a big step for some shoppers and raises concerns about privacy, it’s important for businesses to offer and demonstrate some really tangible benefits to encourage early adoption.”

The report claims shoppers will want to make sustainable and ethical choices, but only if other needs are also satisfied, such as price, availability, and quality. Companies will have to respond on shoppers’ terms as it becomes a growing concern.

“Shoppers feel this is the right thing to do but in reality other needs, such as price or availability, will take priority ahead of social consciousness at this moment in time,” confirms Henry. “The desire to do the right thing is strongly ingrained in most people. Provided the economy stays on track, shoppers will be finding more ways to express this through their shopping in 2025. To engage with these shopper needs businesses should make sure their packaging remains fully functional - shoppers will want solutions that don’t involve any trade-offs with quality, price, shelf life or ease of use.”

Joanne Denney-Finch, chief executive of IGD, concludes: "Grocery retail is undergoing a revolution, driven by mergers and acquisitions as well as evolving shopper expectations. This is set to continue over the coming years. Our sector is built around shoppers and their ever-evolving habits, attitudes, tastes and preferences. Adopting a future-focused mind-set is essential for any retailer and manufacturer looking to succeed.”