The Changing Tastes of the American Consumer

As a new generation of Americans takes over what we eat, consume, smoke, drink and even how we share everything (think: social media drenched world) is undergoing a transformative shift.

Our Demographics are being redefined: in the 1960’s the primary “foreign born” immigrants were from Europe (65%), Canada (10%), South America (9%) and Asia (5%). It’s a different landscape today, in 2012 just 10% of immigrants were from Europe, with Latin America leading the way with 43% and Asia coming in a close second at 26% – the Latin American culture is reshaping our country. 

Living Solo is the New Order: since the mid 1960’s the per centage of peoplel living solo has tripled, with over 40 million people living alone and accounting for just over 25% of all American households. 

  • The traditional family and focus on marriage as the must have lifestyle is falling by the wayside, 40 million Americans live by themselves, accounting for just under 20% of our total population. 
  • And, dining, drinking solo is now part of our culture – 45% of all meals are now consumed by an adult eating by themselves. 

changing tastes of the american consumer demogaphics

The Modern Family is now Mult-generational: since the late 1980’s we have been going through a huge lifestyle shift. Today most homes have one or two (parents, children and even grandparents) living under one roof. Blame student debt and/or increasing cost pressures on newer generations coming of age. 

Step Aside Guys the Women are taking over the Workforce: Women account for 48% of the workforce today versus 26% in the late 1970’s according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and 28% of men are helping out cooking and cleaning house today vs. 29% in 1975 and 40% or more of all “primary shopping” is now being handled by men. 

womein in the workforce

Brand Loyalty is disappearing: in the 1970’s only 2% of consumers indicated they had no primary grocery outlet for shopping; that number today is now over 10%. Shopper loyalty is in part being reshaped by technology; consumers with a phone in hand are looking for deals and where they find them is frequently not important to them. 

Speaking of food we are all snackaholics; the day of the long leisurely meal with friends is rapidly disappearing. Snacking now comprises over 50% of all food consumption and meals are falling by the wayside 3-4 times a week as consumers snack on multiple products in hand, foregoing traditional cooking. 

  • Simplicity when it comes to cooking and ingredients is now all the rage too. Today’s on the go consumers want to prepare food quickly and many of them are now seeking food locally, reshaping how food is grown and distributed. 
  • Just under 10% of all Americans now claim to be vegetarians vs. under 5% in the late1960’s. 
  • Online grocery shopping is increasing in popularity: 13% of milennials versus 5% of boomers shopped for groceries either via a smartphone or desktop. Convenience is the order of the day.

Booze and cigar consumption is on the rise too: one out of five Americans now consumes some kind of alcohol or a premium cigar on a regular basis, and wine is now served approximately for 17% of all meals.

Clearly, the country’s taste in lifestyle amenities in food and booze are much closer to our historical roots than one would think. We like our diversions and that’s not an all together bad thing – YOLO right?