Chart: Intended eCommerce Thanksgiving Spending

Despite alarming Thanksgiving holiday travel data, visualized on this animated map from Flight Radar 24, most Americans plan to keep their holiday celebration small.

70% are planning a Thanksgiving gathering with fewer than six people, and 39% plan to prepare a meal at home for just household members, according to Nielsen.

While we can still count on Americans to increase their in-store spending relative to normal weeks, COVID-19 reduced the barrier to online entry for 18 million first-time online CPG buyers in the U.S. since March.

Grocery e-commerce became wildly popular this year, with household penetration increasing by 68% compared to pre-COVID levels, according to Nielsen’s Omnichannel Shopper Fundamentals Survey.

Consumers’ shift towards e-commerce was highly accelerated by the pandemic, and we can anticipate an additional uptick in online consumption this Thanksgiving as half of consumers have indicated that they will be shopping online to some extent for seasonal food and household items.

Retailers must prepare their online and offline assortments to accommodate for out-of-stocks, convert impulsivity into additional dollars and allow for speedy delivery and pick-up. 

Consumers with income levels of less than $50,000 have exacerbated the movement toward smaller or bypassed festivities, as their purchasing power has significantly decreased due to loss of income and higher prices for common household and grocery items.

And low-income shoppers who are still celebrating have indicated that they will spend less than the average consumer both in-store and online.

Although lower-income Americans have expressed that they will be spending (and celebrating) less overall, there’s still an opportunity for retailers to capture these shoppers through value brands and smaller serving formats. Read the rest at Nielsen.

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