There’s good news and not-so-good news for traditional grocery stores this holiday selling season, according to Chicory’s Holiday Grocer Shopping 2002 study.
On one hand, 75% of consumers will be more price-conscious this holiday season — not surprising given what inflation has done to the average shopper’s food budget, CPG/grocery digital commerce platform Chicory reported.
On the other hand, nearly 70% of consumers plan to do their holiday shopping at conventional supermarkets or via their online services. Chicory’s research also revealed that other popular formats have little to worry about, either. More than 60% of respondents said they plan to shop at supercenters and 50% at wholesale clubs.
“All three options offer shoppers a wide variety of items, all in one place, simplifying their overall shopping experience,” New York-based Chicory said in its holiday shopping report. “Simplicity matters, too. In a previous study, we found convenience to be the No. 1 driver of online grocery orders.”
On the pricing front, in tandem with the price-conscious group are the 70% of survey respondents who selected price as a top consideration in their holiday grocery purchases. Price was followed by flavor (nearly 60%) and availability (about 50%) — forming the classic decision-making trifecta. Brand name/familiarity was next, while specialty and indulgence each garnered around 25% and social impact around 13%.
“Brands looking to win the basket need to make themselves easily accessible to today’s consumer, online and in-store, as well as position themselves as the most flavorful, high-quality option in their price bracket,” Chicory explained.
Approximately 59% of respondents said they plan to complete their holiday grocery shopping across multiple trips or purchases, as opposed to one trip, and more than 70% plan on using multiple retailers to complete their holiday shopping.
“This behavior extends the meal-planning timeline for many shoppers, allowing brands additional opportunities to win the basket,” Chicory noted, adding that visiting multiple retailers “suggests that shoppers are willing to search for the best deal or product before committing to a purchase.”
In a plus for grocery stores and their CPG partners, a third of shoppers indicated they will prepare more homemade meals. “To navigate higher grocery prices this holiday season, more than half of qualified respondents will search for deals, and one-third will make more homemade meals,” Chicory said. “This year’s emphasis on homemade meals is a win for brands, as homemade meals require more time meal planning and longer shopping lists, presenting more opportunities to win.”
Shoppers, too, are likely stay loyal to alcohol brands. Over 41% of respondents said they tend to buy the same alcohol brand every time they shop, according to Chicory’s study.
Many American consumers start planning their holiday meals weeks in advance. About 37% begin two to three weeks ahead of time and 27% one month or more. Fun fact: 3.6% start planning the day before.
“This early planning period provides brands with more opportunities to reach the holiday shopper,” Chicory said. “Digital recipes, for example, are used by 89% of shoppers, making them an ideal tool for meeting shoppers during the planning moment.”
Chicory’s research also shed light on consumers’ holiday meal planning:
• 55% of shoppers seek meal recommendations from family and friends; 50% make the same dish each year; and 46% using recipes to decide their meal.
• 90% anticipate purchasing premade options. Shortcuts and easy-meal solutions favored by consumers include ready-to-eat apps and snacks, store-bought or store-made baked goods, food storage, frozen appetizers, and frozen or refrigerated desserts.
• More than 50% of consumers plan to purchase wine over the holidays, followed by beer and white/clear liquor.
• Almost 60% of respondents will prepare homemade meals between holiday gatherings.
Meanwhile, almost half of survey respondents say they’ll host a holiday gathering this year, and more than half will attend one. Nearly 70% of the gatherings will be for 10 or more people. The vast majority (88%) are planning to cook meals from scratch for their holiday events.
Chicory’s online survey, conducted Aug. 30, polled U.S. consumers ages 18 to 85. Off the 1,524 consumers who opted to take the survey, 1,321 qualified to complete the survey, reporting that they plan on hosting or attending at least one holiday gathering this year.