Hot dogs, charcoal and insect repellent: What grocers sell more of for July 4
- This holiday week, grocers can expect to see an uptick traditional food items like popsicles, frozen burgers and baked beans as well as some not-so-typical grocery items like fishing and camping equipment, according to data from marketing firm Catalina. The firm measured sales during last year's Fourth of July week.
- Hot dog sales were, predictably, up 94% versus average weekly sales, while baked beans were up 102%. Catalina found the week of the Fourth of July brings top annual sales of many outdoor-related products. Compared to a typical week, insect repellent sales increased by 254%, while suntan lotion was up 207%, charcoal 141% and lighter fuel 149%.
- The firm also found numerous regional distinctions. Lighter fluid sales were up 350% in the Northeast, but 105% in the South. Cake and pie mix, meanwhile, rose 291% in the Northeast and just 13% in the South, 14% in the Midwest, and 31% in the West.
For many grocery stores, the height of the grilling season can bring a bump in sales, but not always from expected purchases. The Fourth of July is as much an excuse to barbecue as it is to spend time outdoors and off the grid.
According to Catalina's research, holiday-minded customers are just as likely to leave with edible products as they are with a more utilitarian array of purchases. Food isn't even among the top three items with the largest increase in sales. Behind insect repellents, outdoor ride-on toys and sunscreen, juice pops have the largest sales increase, up 195% from an average week.
The popularity of these non-food items could prove beneficial for cross-promotion efforts and may be a boon for stores that are struggling with sales. This could work particularly well if retailers push online promotions to hype consumers up for the holiday — and remind them that there are other reasons to come in-store rather than just for their nutritional needs. They could also promote these items on delivery services like Shipt and Instacart, presenting customers deals that not only save them money, but also time — and what they may anticipate would be a separate shopping trip to a more general retailer.
In the store, grocers should put popular grilling and outdoor supplies together in one central area to make purchases easier. They can also take a page from Hy-Vee, putting potential side dishes such as corn on the cob within the grilling display. Adding recipe cards could help make ingredient selection easier and promote items that need a boost in sales. Stores with the space and staffing could even invest in an on-site grill and grill master to give cooking demonstrations and answer shopper questions.
More in line with expectations is the rise in sales for ice cream, baked beans, hot dogs, relishes, pie mix and charcoal. However, there were distinct regional differences between the products. In the Northeast, cake and pie mix rose 291%, . Similarly, canned shrimp sales, which saw marginal rises in the rest of the country, rose 205% in that region, presumably for a regional taste for shrimp salad and dip.
Stocking burgers and pie for July 4 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. 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 as well as target promotions toward customers’ needs.