Thanksgiving Grocery Shopping Trends Ahead of the Holiday

The holiday season is just around the corner, and consumers are busy shopping for Thanksgiving, making plans to get together with family and friends, and building their menus, all with savings in mind.

Ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday, Kroger revealed the shopping trends for this holiday season. The grocery chain says it will sell 55 million pounds of turkey, as 85% of customers questioned say they will enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving meal cooked at home or the homes of family and friends, according to a survey conducted by 84.51º, Kroger’s data consultant.

While turkey will be the centerpiece of the Thanksgiving plate for many Kroger customers, cranberries remain a holiday staple, with 6.2 million pounds – 100 truckloads – of fresh cranberries expected to be sold.

Among the 4.1 million pies purchased this season, pumpkin, apple, and pecan dominate as consumer favorites.

Related Article: Grocers Are Gearing Up For higher Thanksgiving Meal Sales Despite a 13.5% Cost Increase

Nostalgia reigns this season with an autumnal twist on classic cocktails such as cranberry mules, pumpkin spice mudslides, maple old-fashioned, and apple spice margaritas. The grocery chain predicts that spirits will be mixed and shareable with punches and sangrias with fall flavors such as apple cider, pumpkin spice, and dark spirits.

84.51° findings also indicate that nearly 50% of customers surveyed began their Thanksgiving shopping a week before the holiday; however, customers can still get their favorite products on store shelves. 

In its latest November Consumer Digest, 84.51° captured insights that show where people are planning to splurge vs. save this season and how they plan to get in the holiday spirit – whether that means stretching their dollar or splurging in areas that are most important to them.

Here is a look at the results:

Splurging vs. Saving This Holiday Season

The top ways consumers plan to save during the holiday season include: Cutting back on impulse purchases, buying items on sale vs. full price, and switching to less expensive brands. These behaviors are relatively consistent across income groups.

  • 62% of shoppers do not have plans to splurge on groceries this holiday, but those who will splurge plan to do so via additional meal courses, non-essential items, and switching to fresh items.
  • 79% of customers will use loyalty cards the same amount or more during the holiday season vs. other times of the year, increasing in use more than membership cards or store/retailer credit cards.

Holiday Grocery Shopping Considerations

When asked which of the following are more important when doing holiday shopping vs. regular grocery shopping, price is the top product attribute that raises in importance (55%), followed by quality (39%), quantity/size (34%), convenience (26%), and then brand (17%).

  • On the other hand, 31% of shoppers claim they make the same considerations as usual when holiday shopping, so attribute importance doesn’t change.
  • Shoppers plan to use a similar mix of modalities (in-store vs. online) when holiday grocery shopping.
  • 42% of consumers say their cooking enjoyment increases during the holiday season, while 34% say their grocery shopping enjoyment decreases during holidays. And consumers are finding their holiday recipe inspiration by sourcing family recipes and searching online for meal ideas.
  • 72% of shoppers will serve/eat turkey as their main course this Thanksgiving, while 12% plan to use ham as their main course, and 6% will serve chicken.
  • After holiday meals, 78% of shoppers plan to eat leftovers immediately, and 41% use them to make other types of meals.

Getting Into the Holiday Spirit

Most gatherings are staying the same or growing this year. 24% of shoppers plan to gather with more people this upcoming holiday season, while 59% will gather with the same amount as last year.

  • Shoppers are shifting activities this season and planning to do fewer activities perceived as costly.
  • The top activities seeing increases are watching holiday movies (34%), gathering with family and friends (27%), and decorating the home (21%).
  • The top activities seeing decreases are spending money on entertainment (52%), going out to restaurants (47%), and traveling (46%).