21st June was Father’s Day. For many of us this would have typically been a day of inviting family around for lunch at home, planning a family picnic, going out to eat or buying a ‘gift/experience’ with food often being the center-piece of the celebration. As we have all adjusted to life under lockdown, this will be another seasonal event not celebrated in the typical way by shoppers in a COVID-19 world.
As we approach the second half, how can we predict what Halloween and Christmas will be like for shoppers and how can retailers and manufacturers prepare?
Seasonal events have traditionally been a valuable opportunity for retailers and manufacturers to drive footfall and sales. In the 12-week period to the 17th May which included the pre-lockdown rush to the shops in March 2020, grocery sales rose by 14.3% . However, shopping behaviour has understandably changed during this period.
Changing shopper behaviour
Through our ShopperVista research we have been tracking the changes in shopper behaviour on a monthly basis throughout the pandemic, our report focusses on the key changes;
In our Shoppers of Our Time research we are following the lives of thirty British households over the next two years to really get under the skin of how shopping and eating behaviour evolves.
Will we see more planned events? Will the planning start earlier? Will staying in be the new going out? Will the increase in home cooking continue?
Halloween creeping up
Over recent years we have seen increased interest in shoppers celebrating Halloween. Last year our research revealed that almost half of shoppers were interested in celebrating Halloween in 2019 (44%) and preparing for trick or treaters was the most popular way of celebrating with one in four claiming to do so. For a third of shoppers, they had already bought food items a week before Halloween and a quarter claimed they were going to buy more than they had the previous year. The ‘at home’ nature of Halloween celebrations could mean there is little change in shopper behaviour this year. Although the planning process for Halloween is not quite as far in advance as we have seen for Christmas. What could Christmas 2020 look like?
Christmas coming early?
In our Insight Before Christmas report, we found that 52% of shoppers started shopping for food and groceries well in advance to spread the cost. As a result of the pandemic, we have seen shoppers become increasingly concerned about their household finances with 47% of shoppers expecting to be financially worse off in the year ahead (ShopperVista May 2020) compared to 25% in January 2020. On the brink of another recession, we may see a return to savvy shopping tactics, something witnessed in our ShopperVista data in the 2008 recession where price and value became more significant drivers of store choice.
In 2019, despite 69% of shoppers claiming Christmas is a time to splash out, the expected spend on Christmas lunch was down from the previous year by nearly £9 to £81. When we revisited shoppers behaviour post-Christmas they claimed actual spend was £9 less than anticipated. Against this backdrop we expect shoppers to be more cautious with their spend and put their home cooking and baking skills to use.
In these challenging times one thing is certain we will be facing a Christmas like no other, but we will continue to track shifts in shopping behaviour, sentiment and attitudes before, during and after the festive period.
Visit our website for further information on shopper events.
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ShopperVista is a paid for subscription service delivering future insights on what’s influencing shoppers, pre, during and post shop. To find out more about the service, and how to subscribe, please contact us.