Keeping Up with Generations: Consumer Packaged Goods

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Consumer packaged goods occupy a large amount of store shelves over a wide range of industries and products. The way generations think and shop evolves over time, and consumer packaged goods (CPG) must keep up with those trends. Millennials, defined currently between the ages of 18-34, are encompassing nearly 25% percent of the population, becoming the largest generation, passing baby boomers. As a result, the millennial generation has a significant influence on the decisions made by consumer goods manufactures1. This generation will spend $65 billion on consumer packaged goods over the next decade, making this a key audience to keep up with and shape you supply chain for2.

Millennials Shaping the Supply Chain

A recent survey shows that roughly 80 million millennials have a unique shopping approach versus older generations. Millennials focus on the use of technology, ecommerce with quick shipping and, making purchases based on a variety of criteria requires manufacturers of CPG goods to utilize cutting edge technologies to distribute these goods.

Ecommerce sales for United States retailers are projected to reach $370 billion by 2017 compared to $300 billion from 20143. As the need for ecommerce grows and as millennials require a faster demand of delivery, partnering with an end-to-end supply chain provider is key in keeping business moving, shelves stocked, and consumers happy. Utilizing an expert in distribution and a warehouse management system (WMS) allows you to anticipate the changes and avoid supply chain disruption.

Millennials have a willingness to spend a modest premium on brands they feel are worthy. However, they will not buy name brands when it has failed to create a reason enough to warrant the premium2. Shopping becomes a more social interaction, often with family and friends, who look for the value in consumer good products that enhance quality of life, energy, or healthfulness. Transparency from manufacturers is crucial. This generation wants to know who is making their products, where their goods are coming from, and what ingredients make up these goods. Additionally, they are interested in how quickly the product can be shipped and that products retain quality during the shipping process.

Focusing Your CPG on Millennials

In an era where ecommerce can provide same day delivery, millennials expect quick results from their online ordering or shopping experiences. This includes the expectation of having shelves stocked and products available in an instant. Mapping out a plan with an experienced 3PL helps keep the largest generation and create brand loyalty. From origin to final destination, an end-to-end solution can capture those challenges.

Manufactures and companies that invest and promote social responsibility are more likely to capture loyalty from the millennial era. The generation is heavily vested in knowing that the goods they are buying are quality products but come from a company that makes a difference in the world. Millennials purchase with their eyes. Appearance is everything and this generation is passionate about sharing experiences on social media and CPGs are no exception to that. Highlight the physical and emotional side of your product by including photos in package design will help appeal to this generation2.

Specific to the food and beverage industry, millennials want healthy options that are fresh and at their fingertips. Unique packaging of different shapes and colors typically catches the eye of this fun loving generation. Most importantly, showing why your brand is worth the premium will set you apart from other CPG companies. Make sure you ask what value you present that sets you apart from your competitors.

In addition to keeping shelves stocked and utilizing an end-to-end supply chain solutions provider, companies need to evaluate the way the millennial generation shops, thinks, and advocates. Knowing your key audience can provide great growth while letting your 3PL manage the rest.


  1. http://www.packagingdigest.com/packaging-design/the-millennial-factor-how-a-generation-of-consumers-is-transforming-todays-packaging-landscape-2016-04-06
  2. http://www.millennialmarketing.com/2015/10/how-cpg-brands-can-tap-into-the-millennial-mindset/
  3. http://mashable.com/2013/03/12/forrester-u-s-ecommerce-forecast-2017
  4. https://www.epsilon.com/a-brand-new-view/region/us/what-millennials-value-and-how-they-shop-a-lesson-for-cpg-marketers/
  5. https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/253582