More snacks and wine for the holidays

Catalina's 2021-2022 Consumer Holiday Report gives private brand retailers a look into what consumers' attitudes are ahead of holiday gatherings.
Zachary Russell
Associate Editor
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food data

As the year winds down and the holidays approach, market research firm Catalina has released its 2021-2022 Consumer Holiday Report. The report surveyed 1,118 U.S. consumers on how they plan to celebrate/shop during the holidays, giving insight to private brands on shopper behavior amid an inflationary period.

Retailers with own brands fared well during the November holidays, which means Christmas and New Years gatherings could lead to repeated success.=

Catalina’s research showed that about half (49%) of those surveyed planned to consume the same amount of snack food as they did during last year’s holiday season. 26% planned to consume as much or more. Of the items consumers said they planned to purchase more of compared to last year, cookies (57%), cheese (57%), meat (53%), fruits (53%), and chips (52%) topping the list.

Other notable categories that saw a lift during that same time frame were “rice & popcorn cakes” (+19%) and “frozen snacks - pizza & cheese” (+16%). With many staying home last year, both un-popped (+13%) and ready-to-eat popcorn (+12%) saw significant increases in sales.

For those who are planning to gather and host for the holidays, 37% plan to consume the same amount of alcohol as they did during last year’s holiday season, while 15% plan to consume at least as much, or more. According to Catalina, pre-mixed cocktails and coolers posted a 50% increase in 2020, which is expected to carry-over into the 2021 holidays. “Spirits” and “sherry/vermouth/champagne" were the only other two alcohol categories that saw a double-digit percentage increase in sales over that same period, with a 10% increase in total sales for both categories year-over-year. For the season, Walmart has popped a new champagne.

“While ‘the new normal’ is ever-evolving — consumer behavior during the 2021 holiday season will likely be an important indicator of the 2022 retail environment,” said Catalina. “CPG brands and retailers alike should pay close attention to purchase data to understand how to stay ahead of the curve as the pandemic continues to impact our daily lives, including how we shop.”

As far as the pandemic's concerned, 63% of consumers surveyed anticipate COVID-19 will alter their holiday plans in 2021. While 24% of respondents anticipate a significant impact on their holiday plans, 39% anticipate only a slight impact. 61% of the consumers surveyed said they plan to celebrate the upcoming holidays free of COVID-19 restrictions (no masks, without social distancing, etc.). About the same number of respondents (30%) said they will not travel or host over the holidays this year as those who said they plan on hosting friends and/or family (29%). Of the respondents surveyed, 41% plan on traveling this year.

The full report can be found here.