Consumer Behaviour The comparision in consumer behaviour between Millennials and Baby Boomers in the health food sector based on Consumer Decision Making model


Welcome to my presentation!

My name is Thi Minh An Nguyen. I am studying MSc Marketing at the University of Lincoln. This presentation is an assignment for the Consumer Behaviour course.

Basically, I am a Millennial. Thanks to this assignment, I have gained more knownlege about not only my generation but also Baby Boomers - a very interested generational cohort.

Consumer Behaviour is a very excited course that helps me to understand the insights of consumer as well as models that demonstrate their consumption process. I am really appreciated that I have memorable experiences in not only this assignment but also the whole module.

Hope everybody enjoy my works. Cheers!

Let's start with my presentation!


Each generation has different values, lifestyles as well as characteristics that influence their perspectives and consumer behaviour (Martin & Prince, 2009; Bucuta, 2015). The consumer behaviour is a phenomenon that can be analysed and understood by taking a generation approach. Millennials and Baby Boomers are two large and powerful generations that not only shape the consumption market but also gain much attention from brands because they are sizeable and have vital purchasing power (Parment, 2013). According to Welsch (2015), “Millennials are from Mars and Baby Boomers are from Venus.” This paper aims at analysing the differences in consumer behaviour between Millennials and Baby Boomers in the area of health foods by applying the consumer decision-making model.

Findings and Discussion

Definition of Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers are the group who were born during 1946 to 1964 (Werner, 2011) and have other names such as the grey market, the third generation, etc (Haynes, 2004). This generational cohort live through highlighted events like the peek economic boom, the rise of television and the creation of the Internet (Lee, 2005; Fona, 2015). Because of their age and their large purchasing power, Baby Boomers are perceived as influential and affluent consumer groups (Rice, 1988; Reisenwitz & Iyer, 2007). They spend approximately $400 billion yearly, which is half of all consumer expenditures in the USA (Palm, 2015). They highlight individualism and self-improvement by achieving personal growth and wealth (Ordun, 2015)

Definition of Millennnials

Although Millennials, who are 18 to 34 years old, are far younger than Baby Boomers, their size is almost equal at approximately 75 million respectively (Clayton, 2016). Millennials are responsible for a fourth of the world population as well as $200 billion in annual purchasing goods (Schawbel, 2015). They are portrayed in both gloomy and bright point of views. Some people state them as “lazy, irresponsible, and impatient” while others demonstrate them as “open-minded, innovative, active and confident” (Ordun, 2015). They have a high educational level, strongly focus on career goals (Schawbel, 2015) and are techoology-savvy (Chiarello-Ebner, 2015).

Differences in attitudes and behaviours between two generational cohorts

The differences between these two generations are the topic that has been discussed in numerous researches (Holbrook and Schindler, 1989, 1994; Schuman and Scott, 1989; Parment, 2011).

Figure 1. Since 2013, Nielsen Global has conducted a survey about the attitudes among 30,000 Millennials and Baby Boomers worldwide. The report was published in 2016 showing many major differences in attitudes and behaviours between these two cohorts (Nielsen, 2016).

Health food sector

The differences in attitudes and behaviours also affect the way Millennials and Baby Boomers purchasing health foods. Health food market is a competitive yet profitable market, which achieved almost £500 million in 2010 and increased gradually from 17% since 2005 (Mintel, 2010). Moreover, Millenials and Baby Boomers are reported as two generations that heavily purchase health foods (Mintel, 2010). Therefore, health food sector is chosen to be an area to be discussed.

Consumer decision making model

Consumer decision-making model will be used as core theoretical framework to analyse the differences in consumer behaviour between Millennials and Baby Boomers. According to Sproles & Kendall (1986), the decision process is “a mental orientation characterising a consumer’s approach to making choices” (p. 276). Since the twentieth century, this concept has been an interesting area for many professionals studying on (Stone. 1954; Darden & Reynolds. 1971; Korgaonkar. 1981; Hafstrom, Chae & Chung, 1992). Humans have to make decisions every day. Some will be small and allow people to make a quick decision based on their experiences. Some will require more efforts and evaluation process, such as purchasing decision.

Figure 2. According to Mothersbaugh & Hawkins (2016), a decision process consists of five stages: Problem Recognition, Information Search, Allternative Evaluation and Selection, Outlet Selection and Purchase, Postpurchase Processess.

For more details, Schiffman & Kanuk (2015) came up with a consumer decision-making model. Different generation will have unique attitudes, perception and learning experiences (internal); be influenced by different sociocultural attributes and exposed to different communication sources (external). Thus, it is undeniable that these differences will affect their decision-making process. However, Millennials and Baby Boomers share some surprise similarities.

Figure 3. Consumer decision-making model (Schiffman & Kanuk, 2015)


Firstly, both two generations have same Need Recognition when they are looking for health foods. British adults aged 19-64 are reported to consume an unhealthy diet which is too high in salt and saturated fat and limited in fibre and green (Houses of Parliament, 2016). However, Millennials and Baby Boomers recogise the problem and look for a more healthy eating lifestyles. Since 2000, health consciousness has become a global phenomenon and consumers at all ages are more aware of the important of health and eating lifestyles (SRI International 2010; Hartman Group, 2012: Marjanen et al., 2016). According to Cimigo (2015), both Millennials and Baby Boomers rated health as the most concerned in lives. Millennials care more about health because they perceive health is an important attribute to achieve personal goals and provide productive works (Dossin, 2016). As previously stated, Millennials are highly educated, thus, they have much knowledge on the importance of health. Meanwhile, Baby Boomers spend most of their money on health sectors (Fona, 2015) because they desire youthful spirits and manage health issues (Lee, 2016; Nutraceuticals, 2010). Baby Boomers are elderly generation and facing numerous health conditions related to ageing, thus, it is extremely crucial for them to have high demands on health products, especially foods. Therefore, many foods and beverages brands focus on products that meet healthy needs of consumers. These ideas mirror the ideology of Dorsey-Kockler (2010) and Glikes-Smith (2014) academic who also studied the need recognition of consumers in health product sector.

Millennials and Baby Boomers are both health-conscious

Secondly, findings show that both generation highlight Promotion as the most influenced factors in the Marketing mix when they come up with a decision on buying health foods. They share a love for coupons and sales promotion (Synchrony Financial, 2015). Both groups prefer promotion that highly engages with consumers and provides useful information about specific health benefits (Chiarello-Ebner, 2015). It leads to understanding for marketers to attract both generations purchasing their health food products.

They love coupons!
Sales promoton


Sociocultural Influences are an important factor that affects the decision process. Millennials highly value opinions of friends and family and more likely to be inspired by online reviews (Chiarello-Ebner, 2015; Dossin, 2016; Fromm, 2015). They live in the technological world, thus, it is easy for them to seek for product reviews online. More than 80% of Millennials favour word of mouth from friends, family and social media while there are only 50% of Baby Boomers value that (Bucuta, 2015). Baby Boomers get the most influences from face-to-face retailers and salespeople (Synchrony Financial, 2015).

The second difference is Communication Sources. Millennials perceive traditional channels (e.g: television, print) are out-of-date and unattractive (Bucuta, 2015). Millennials are more clever and aware of marketing tactics employed by traditional media. Thus, it is less likely for them to receive communication messages from marketers through traditional media. Conversely, a 2013 Radius Global Market Research study showed that almost 40% of Baby Boomers value print media for product searching and advertising (Palm, 2015). Moreover, they live in TV era, thus, TV commercial has a large and reliable impact on their consumer behaviour (Palm, 2015). On the other hand, Millennials are technology-savvy and more likely to influenced by social media, especially contents that are written by authentic peers (Schawbel, 2015). Brands that highly engage with them on social media platforms and have positive online feedback are favoured by Millennials.

Communication contents that attract Millennials (McReynolds, 2015)
Baby Boomers are attracted to traditional media such as TV.

When two generations do Pre-purchase Information Search, more than 30% of Millennials find healthy food information on blogs while there is only 8% of Baby Boomers trust bloggers (Clayton, 2016) although 88% of them access to the Internet (Tennant et al., 2015). Millennials search information mostly online (Fromm, 2015). However, it leads to a problem that online information are too crowded for Millennials to make a final decision. Meanwhile, Baby Boomers do not research many sources before purchasing and decide quickly (Lee, 2016).

The major difference is Evaluation of Purchase Alternatives. Millennials and Baby Boomers seek for different product attributes when they decide to purchase healthy foods. 40% of Millennials rank ingredients sourced sustainability is the selling point in their purchase decision (Nielsen, 2015) while Baby Boomers are more concerned about nutritional factors such as sugar-free and low-fat (Fona, 2015; Mintel, 2016). Almost half of Baby Boomers are more interested than Millennials in foods that satisfy health benefits such as anti-aging, bone-maintaining and weight management (Clayton, 2016). They are less likely to seek for mental and muscle health benefits in foods than Millennials (Clayton, 2016). Moreover, Millennials highlight organic food trends (Tweed, 2016; Hoffman, 2012). 45% of Millennials actively purchase organic foods compared to only 30% of Baby Boomers to do so (Tuttle, 2015). Therefore, Baby Boomers tend to buy health food that high in fibre and vitamins while Millennials seek for organic products providing protein and energy. Price is another criteria to be assessed. Baby Boomers are less influenced by price than Millennials when purchasing goods (Synchrony Financial, 2015). However, Millennials are more likely to pay extra for health products, especially sustainable sourced ingredients foods (41% compared with 21%) (Nielsen, 2015).

In terms of Loyalty in the output of consumer decision making, Millennials is the most difficult group for brands to create brand loyalty (Ordun, 2015; Lazarevic, 2012). They would like to experience new products while 44% of Baby Boomers purchase the same brands consistently (Chiarello-Ebner, 2015). Baby Boomers are extremely loyal in compared with Millennials (Homburg & Giering, 2001; Beauchamp & Barnesm, 2015). Therefore, it is important to retain Baby Boomers and attract more Millennials in health food marketing strategy.

Figure 4. Comparision between Millennials and Baby Boomers toward consumer decision making (Parment, 2013)


Millennials and Baby Boomers has difference consumer behaviour when decide to purchase health foods because they are influenced by different external sources and seek for unique health food attributes. However, they share the same concern about health and need foods improving their mental and physical health. It is crucial for marketers to understand their similarities and differences in order to provide marketing tactics that suit for each segment.

Let's watch a funny clip about Millennials vs. Baby Boomers!


Beauchamp, M. and Barnes, D. (2015) Delighting Baby Boomers and Millennials: Factors that Matter Most. Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, 23(3), pp.338-350.

Bucuta, A. (2015) A Review of the Specific Characteristics of the Generation Y Consumer. Marketing from information to decision, 8th ed.

Chiarello-Ebner, K. (2015) Generation-Specific Marketing From Millennials to Boomers. Whole Foods Magazine. Available from: (accessed 17 Mar. 2017).

Cimigo (2015) Understanding Vietnamese consumers’ healthy choices. Available from : (accessed 20 Mar 2017).

Clayton, J. (2016) Boomers vs Millennials: Mind the food generation gap. Food insights.

Darden, W.R. & Fred, D.R. (1971) Shopping Orientations and Product Usage Rates. The Journal of Marketing Research, 8, pp. 505-508.

Dorsey-Kockler, A. (2010) A picture of health. Food and Drink Technology.

Dossin, R. (2016). The Surprising Truth about Marketing to Baby Boomers. Available from: (accessed 20 Mar. 2017).

Fona (2015) Baby Boomers: A boom to your business. 2014 Trend Insight Report. Avaiable from: (accessed 15 Mar 2017).

Fromm, J. (2015) Brands Connecting With Millennial Moms Capitalize On Healthy Food Trends, Convenience And Community. Available from: (accessed 21 Mar. 2017).

Glikes-Smith, K. (2014) Boomers, millennials agree on health and wellness. Dairy Foods.

Hafstrom, J.L., Chae, J.S. & Chung, Y.S. (1992) Consumer Decision Making Styles; Comparison Between United States and Korean Young Consumers. The Journal of Consumer Affairs, 26(l), pp. 146-158.

Hartman Group (2012) Health and Wellness Trends Update. Hartman Group. Available from: (accessed 18 Mar 2017).

Haynes, L. (2004) Baby boomers. Brand Strategy, 179, p. 31.

Hoffman, B (2012) How 'Millennials' Are Changing Food as We Know It. Available from (accessed 22 Mar 2017).

Holbrook, M.B., Schindler, R.M. (1989) Some exploratory findings on the develop- ment of musical tastes. Journal of Consumer Research, 16, 119–124.

Holbrook, M.B., Schindler, R.M. (1994) Age, sex and attitude toward the past as predictors of consumers’ aesthetic tastes for cultural products. Journal of Marketing Research, 31, 412–442.

Homburg, C. & Giering, A (2001) Personal Characteristics as Moderators of the Relationship Between Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty—An Empirical Analysis. Psychology & Marketing, 18 (1), pp.43–66.

Houses of Parliament (2016) Barriers to Healthy Food. Postnote 522.

Korgaonkar, P.K. (1981) Shopping Orientations of Catalog Showroom Patrons. The Journal of Retailing, 57, pp. 78-89.

Lazarevic, V. (2012) Encouraging brand loyalty in fickle generation Y consumers. The Young Consumer, 13(1), pp. 45-61.

Lee, L. (2016). Where Baby Boomers Spend Their Money and How to Profit From It. Fox Business. Available from: (accessed 13 Mar 2017).

Marjanen, H., Kohijoki, A. and Saastamoinen, K. (2016) Profiling the ageing wellness consumers in the retailing context. The International Review of Retail, Distribution and Consumer Research, 26(5), pp.477-501.

Martin, N. & Prince, D. (2009) Factoring for X: an empirical study of generation X's material attributes. Journal of Management and Marketing research, 66-70. Available from: (accessed 15 March 2017).

McReynolds, K. (2015) Infographic: The Social Habit of Millennials. Adparlor. Available from:

Mintel (2010) Health Food Retailing – UK – April 2010 – Issues in the Market. Mintel.

Mintel (2016) Attitudes towards Healthy Eathing – UK – Factors Deemed Important when Looking for Healthy Food. Mintel.

Mothersbaugh, D. & Hawkins, D. (2016) Consumer behavior. 1st ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Education.

Nielsen, (2015). Healthy Eating Trend Around The World. Nielsen. Available from: (accessed 21 Mar. 2017).

Nielsen, (2016) The Keys to Unlocking the Millennial Mindset. Available from: (accessed 17 Mar 2017).

Nutraceuticals, (2010) Health & Wellness Products Target Baby Boomers. Nutraceuticals World. Available from: (accessed 20 Mar. 2017).

Ordun, G. (2015) Millennial (Gen Y) Consumer Behavior, Their Shopping Preferences and Perceptual Maps Associated with Brand Loyalty. Canadian Social Science, 11(4), pp. 40-55.

Palm, J. (2015) Shifting baby boomer purchasing habits. Available from: (accessed 15 Mar 2017).

Parment, A. (2013) Generation Y vs. Baby Boomers: Shopping behavior, buyer involvement and implications for retailing. Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, 20(2), pp.189-199.

Reisenwitz, T. and Iyer, R. (2007) A comparison of younger and older baby boomers: investigating the viability of cohort segmentation. Journal of Consumer Marketing, 24(4), pp.202-213.

Rice, F. (1988) Wooing aging baby-boomers. Fortune, 117 (3), pp. 68-73.

Schawbel, D. (2015) 10 New Findings About The Millennial Consumer. Available from : (accessed 16 Mar 2017).

Schiffman, L. & Kanuk, L. (2015) Consumer behavior. 1st ed. Boston: Pearson.

Schuman, H., Scott, J. (1989) Generations and collective memories. American Sociological Review, 54, 359–381.

Sproles, G.B & Kendall, E.L. (1986) A Methodology for Profiking Consumers' Decision Making Styles. The Journal of Consumer Affairs, 20(2), pp. 267-279.

SRI Internationa (2010) Spas and the Global Wellness Market: Synergies and Opportunities. SRI International. Avaialable from: 18 Mar 2017).

Stone, G.P. (1954) City Shoppers and Urban Identification : Observations on the Social Psychology of City Life .American Journal of Sociology, 60, pp. 36-45.

Synchrony Financial, (2015) These findings about how millennials and baby boomers shop may surprise you. Business Insider. Available from: (acessed 20 Mar. 2017).

Tennant, B., Stellefson, M., Dodd, V., Chaney, B., Chaney, D., Paige, S. and Alber, J. (2015) eHealth Literacy and Web 2.0 Health Information Seeking Behaviors Among Baby Boomers and Older Adults. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 17(3), p.70.

Tuttle, B. (2015) 10 Things Millennials Buy Far More Often Than Everyone Else. Available from: (accessed 22 Mar. 2016)

Tweed, V (2016) Healthy Food Trends. betternutrition. Available from (accessed 22 Mar 2017).

Welsch, A. (2015) A mythical gap between generation. StreetScene.

Werner, C.A (2011) The older population: 2010. 2010 Census Briefs.


Created with images by PublicDomainPictures - "beach female fit" • - "Health & Fitness" • PublicDomainPictures - "apple diet healthy"

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.