Millennials spending more money than older shoppers

groceries in car
Millennials spend 15% more per year on groceries, restaurants, gas and cell phones than their older counterparts. (McIninch/Getty Images)

Millennials are spending more money on groceries than older generations, not to mention on restaurants, gas and cell phones. 

According to a new report from Bankrate, 18- to 36-year-olds are spending an average of $797 per month on groceries, compared to $724 for those age 37 and older. 

Outpacing older generations on more than just food shopping, millennials spend about $43 more per month on gasoline, $51 more per month on dine-in and takeout restaurant meals and $26 more per month on cell phone bills.

In total, millennials spend an extra $2,300—15% more—per year on groceries, restaurants, gas and cell phones than their older counterparts. 

“Given their busy lifestyles and, in many cases, growing families, millennials’ spending habits differ quite significantly from their elders,” said Bankrate analyst Robin Saks Frankel. 

Robin Saks Frankel

Saks Frankel says that the report was surprising in that with all of the talk about putting money toward experiences, millennials are actually spending their money on mundane areas such as groceries and gas. 

Plus, this rapidly maturing generation is starting to settle down, grow their families and make significant purchases like housing and cars. A significant portion of their spending is shifting towards buying for their families and not just themselves. 

Saks Frankel also notes that millennials are extremely tech-savvy, so if they see an item they like in a store, they’re going to price-check it on their smartphones to see if they can find it elsewhere for a better deal. 

"They also want a seamless process, so if their online shopping experience is cumbersome, they may give up and try to buy that item on an easier-to-use site," Saks Frankel told FierceRetail. 

The challenge for retailers trying to reach this demographic is that millennials are increasingly doing more of their retail shopping online, so it can be difficult to get them to add on to their purchases. Retailers may also miss out on some of the sales that come from browsing and window-shopping. 

"When people go online to shop, they’re usually looking for a specific item. But in a brick-and-mortar store, if someone comes in looking for a dress to wear to a particular event, a salesperson can suggest a belt, purse and shoes to go with it. Although many websites do offer suggestions when you choose an item, it’s hard to get as interested in a thumbnail sized pair of shoes that go well with your dress as you might in person when you see the whole thing together," she said.