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Market Research Uncovers Millennial Preferences

Market Research Uncovers Millennial Preferences

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Working to promote a “Buy BC” culture, the BC Association of Farmers’ Markets (BCAFM) is committed to develop and strengthen the capacity and relevance of Farmers’ Markets across BC.

The BCAFM recognizes that the Millennial demographic is overtaking Baby Boomers as the largest segment of purchasing power. As a progressive leader in the sector, the Association wants to build a strategy to attract and engage this influential Millennial group of potential buyers, while supporting member markets and their vendors.

The Project

BCAFM approached Farm Food Drink to conduct a Market Research project so they could better understand the people in the Millennial audience. The research focused on:

  1. Attracting and retaining millennial shoppers at BC Farmers’ Markets
  2. How to strengthen/better use the current online market store platform at existing Farmers’ Markets to increase direct-to-consumer sales

The findings from this project would enable BCAFM to provide their members (markets and vendors) with the tools and strategies to grow this Millennial consumer market segment over the long term. The tools and tactics chosen by Association members can then increase the number of shoppers along with sales revenues for agri-food vendors across British Columbia.

The Research Process

To conduct customized qualitative and quantitative research for BCAFM, our methods of data collection included a document and literature review, and a series of interviews. The intent was to uncover target market characteristics in the Millennial demographic, as well as consumer behaviour.

Document & Literature Review: A variety of reports and papers were assessed to uncover shopping habits and food behaviour of Millennials and Gen Zs. Data was also considered on the impact of e-commerce in the local food sector due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Interview Study: A total of fifteen interviews were conducted across Canada and western USA, including 4 Farmers Market organizations and 11 Farmers Market managers or staff.

Analysis: The data compiled was summarized and organized based on the project goals to uncover methods for attracting and retaining Millennial shoppers, and how to effectively improve and evolve e-commerce experiences.

Market Research Plan

With the extensive data collected, Farm Food Drink Research organized the information to further define the characteristics and habits of the target audience. This would enable BCAFM to consider how their market members could use the research results.

  1. Target Market Identification/Overview

Commonalities with Millennials include their value of a good bargain and convenience; they are more likely to seek out healthy, socially just, and environmentally friendly brands and products; and they are most likely to use technology for their daily shopping needs.

The data, however, indicates that this market cannot be described in general terms, but rather as a diverse population with different behavioural indicators based on their stage of life.

  • Young Families (33% of Canadian Millennials)
  • Single Professionals (29% of Canadian Millennials)
  • Young Couples (16% of Canadian Millennials)
  • Students (15% of Canadian Millennials)
  • Income Insecure Individuals, without children (6% of Canadian Millennials)
  1. Experience Positioning

For each of the target segments, Farm Food Drink identified the primary experiences desired or expected from Farmers’ Markets. Those could include prepared food options for the Single Professional; kids activities and eco-friendly packaging for Young Families; and unique niche products and socializing space for Young Couples.

The report goes into detail for those segments who are already Farmers’ Market fans, and those who are, at the moment, general consumers.

  1. Implementation Plan

Besides recommending a foundation for each Farmers’ Market of a strong website and engaging social media presence, we provided a breakdown for each target segment:

  • Who they are – their demographic characteristics, motivators, behaviours, values, and shopping habits
  • How to engage them – desired experience, key messaging, connection opportunities
  • Action plan – where, what, and how to promote the market, vendors, and the experience

Client Implementation

The Farmers’ Markets are so diverse that each would have to look at recommendations based on their locale (urban vs rural), budget, time, resources, and importance.

To get them started, the BCAFM is running an online education month in November to support their market members with a webinar series, videos, and various communications pieces. The purpose is to share some of the research to enlighten market managers on how they can proceed over the next six months to two years to entice Millennials both as consumers and vendors.

Your Research Project

Market research can be the enabler for starting or expanding your business. Whether it’s digging deep into something like a target audience like BCAFM, or the competitive landscape in your niche, or channel opportunities outside your locale, our market research team specializes in the farm, food, and drink industry in BC and beyond.

Contact us to discover how your company could benefit from some targeted research.

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