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Here’s the latest market that Millennials are disrupting: Chickens.
On the company’s latest earnings call, Tractor Supply Co. Chief Executive Officer Hal Lawton talked about new buyers for poultry in response to a question from Baird’s Peter Benedict.
Q - Peter Benedict All right. Thanks guys. Hal, I was wondering -- I want to circle back to the rural revitalization theme you were talking about. And just curious if you had any more data around that. Have you guys learned more about maybe what the populations are doing in your markets? Any data that kind of speak to that? I understand you talked more generally about it, but is there anything else you can share?
A - Hal Lawton Yeah. Hey, Peter. I'd say our datasets that we're looking at, as it relates to kind of the urban departure into rural and suburban is really a combination of our own data, plus what we're pulling in from external data sources. And if you look at the Millennial population in general, this is one that for over -- almost 10, 15 years now, I think all of us have been wondering if that generation will eventually conform to normal generational activities like householding and buying homes and such.
And I do think that the pandemic really shocked that generation, and you're pulling forward now three or four years of those sorts of activities into a year. And if you look at home purchases, if you look at household formation, that generation is spiking above all the other generations in those activities. And the urban home purchases of that generation are declining, but rural and suburban are increasing. And we see that in our dataset as well as we talked about the millennial cohort increasing by four percentage points as a percent of our business in the first quarter.
And we're seeing it in our stores in the products that they're buying and in the way they're engaging. I think we've mentioned in the past we sold 11 million birds last year, and half of those birds went to new customers. And it just shows you a category like poultry, which we're far and away the market share leader in, and it's a category that really had a renaissance -- went through a renaissance last year and it's continuing this year in our stores. And you see a lot of new customers coming in and buying coops, buying birds, and buying everything that goes along necessary for that passion. And then they're taking it out to their new homes, in the suburban and rural areas and enjoying the Out Here lifestyle.
My emphasis added.