Thanksgiving trends survey: Consumers could switch to store brands

Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
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Some private label products could be in for a happier Thanksgiving, as consumers might be looking to trade down to less expensive store brand products that provide just as much quality at a value, according to data firm Numerator.

The data and tech company in Chicago surveyed 2,000 shoppers about the upcoming holiday to see how changing consumer behaviors could impact Thanksgiving 2020.

One trend is an uptick in private label sales in some categories. Numerator said national brands in categories like baking nuts, seeds, chips and bars are most susceptible to a private brand switch, followed by brands in pies, pie-making ingredients, refrigerated packaged soups, sugar, sugar-substitutes and baking powder.

The surveyed learned that 93% of consumers plan to purchase items for Thanksgiving, even if it expects to be a pared-down celebration due to COVID-19; more than two-thirds of the respondents (68%) said they expect to celebrate the holiday differently than last year and that includes 66% saying they will shop differently than the year before.

That adjusted shopping behavior could be more store brands and less products overall to accommodate smaller gatherings, or more purchases being made online. Numerator said there’s a potential to see an additional 4 million households shop for Thanksgiving though click-and-collect services. 

Numerator also found that there could be a jump in alcohol sales at grocery stores. If Thanksgiving prep includes a one-stop shop at a grocer, potentially through click and collect, that might include an alcohol purchase as opposed to making a separate alcohol trip to a liquor retailer. Numerator said an additional 9 million Thanksgiving trips are expected to include beer, 8.5 million to include wine, and 5.7 million to include spirits. During COVID, from March 2020 to present, the number of grocery trips to include alcohol has already grown by nearly 20% on average.

Another category to benefit during the coronavirus has been baking, as more consumers have been baking at home. This will likely continue over Thanksgiving. Numerator estimates that 10% more Thanksgiving trips will include baking and cooking ingredients, representing 500,000 more shopping trips with a basket size about 19% larger than Thanksgiving 2019.