Report: Pre-Thanksgiving top sellers include staples as well as surprises
- Catalina’s analysis of consumer spending in the week before Thanksgiving found that traditional food items like canned cranberries, stuffing mixes and frozen pies were top sellers, but so too were not-so-typical items like coffee makers, kitchen gadgets and even men’s gift sets.
- The digital shopper intelligence and engagement company measured dollar expenditures on various items in the run-up to Thanksgiving and compared it to the average spending on those items during the rest of the year. Not surprisingly, U.S. grocers sell 11 times the amount of canned cranberries the week of Thanksgiving compared to a typical week, according to Catalina’s research.
- Other items that over-index in the week before Thanksgiving include stuffing mixes (up 959% compared with the typical week), pie shells and fillings (+500%), evaporated milk (+434%) and marshmallows (+316%). Catalina finds that Thanksgiving week is the number one week for marshmallow sales in America.
Despite reports that the average price of cooking Thanksgiving dinner is the lowest in five years, consumers will still dish out plenty of money preparing for the holiday. CNBC reports that the average American will spend $97 on eating and hosting Thanksgiving this year.
As supermarket shopping expert Phil Lempert told CNBC, “We want to have a Thanksgiving table that is overflowing, with five desserts and all different sides. People overbuy."
Catalina's research on what products consumers buy in the run-up to Thanksgiving is eye-opening. Some items, of course, won't be a surprise to anyone. For example, canned cranberry sauce is the week's clear winner. Other popular fixings like stuffing mix, pie crusts, and marshmallows for topping the sweet potatoes follow close on its heels.
Everyone expects these seasonal items to be big-sellers this time of year. But having these kinds of spending insights — along with supplier input and a retailer's own past selling experiences — can help grocers plan and order accordingly, because having a surplus does not put retailers in a festive mood.
Also interesting are some items that Catalina found consumers spending more on that are not so commonly associated with the holiday, but ideal for special displays and cross promotions. Some examples include coffee makers, small kitchen gadgets (like meat thermometers) and plastic food storage containers for all those leftovers.
There also seems to be a hint of early holiday gift shopping coming through in Catalina’s list too. Compared with a typical week, spending on such items as men’s combo/gift sets, games and puzzles, and makeup combo/gift sets are up in the week before Thanksgiving, according to Catalina’s analysis. Insights such as these could be useful in helping retailers to better plan seasonal nonfood assortments.
Stocking cranberry sauce and pie filling is a no-brainer. But grocers could be leaving money on the table if they ignore some other, more unusual, items that consumers also tend to buy more of just before Thanksgiving than during other times of the year. Understanding consumption patterns during a high-traffic week like Thanksgiving could result in bigger basket sizes and increased sales.
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