Survey: Convenience is key for grocery shoppers during the holidays
A new survey finds that customers across age groups are most loyal to one store for the majority of their shopping, with 29% referring to themselves as loyal, making a streamlined holiday shopping experience key to retaining customers throughout the year. The survey of 2,000 consumers, commissioned by refrigeration company Phononic, also found that 43% of consumers plan to shop at a regional grocer during the holidays.
Convenience is also critical this time of year, especially in the younger demographic. Fifty-five percent of all consumers surveyed say they would like to see holiday items grouped in one area of the store while a quarter of respondents 18 to 24 years old want popular items available at checkout and pre-made holiday offerings, like mashed potatoes, readily available.
The survey also finds that, despite many grocer’s focus on low prices and deals, quality product still comes out as a top factor (31%) in why shoppers choose a particular grocery store.
Millennials and Generation Z are poised to change the way grocery stores are laid out and stocked as they tend to value convenience and quality over low prices. A quarter of respondents ages 18 to 24 want to see popular items and more fresh produce offered at checkout this holiday season. This younger generation is also less likely to be loyal to one food retailer, so retailers will have to work harder to pull them in and earn their repeat business, which means finding creative ways to build loyalty like with pre-made meals and meal kits, with less emphasis on deals.
Once the holiday dust settles, grocers should consider how to turn their holiday shoppers into loyal customers. When rushing around to make the holiday meal perfect, consumers are more prone to go from store to store buying items they wouldn’t necessarily buy at other times of the year. This opens up an opportunity to create a loyal customer base if stores make a positive impression. The report shows Millennials are less likely to be loyal, so the holidays are really the time to shine.
Despite the survey’s finding that price isn’t always shoppers’ number one motivator, different research shows that discount grocers are undercutting traditional grocers in the savings department. Bloomberg Intelligence reports that out of 15 stores surveyed, Aldi and Lidi offer the best prices while Whole Foods and Fresh Market are at the bottom of the list. The average basket from Aldi cost 3.4 times less than the same items at Fresh Market.
Regardless of where customers choose to purchase the turkey and all its trimmings – a holiday menu that doesn’t appear to be going anywhere – Thanksgiving is one of the biggest weeks of the year for grocery stores and Americans are willing to spend money for the perfect spread. One in four hosts say Thanksgiving is a financial strain. Americans expect to spend $334 to host a party of 11 this year – about a third of what they spend on the holiday season as a whole (gifts, décor and food), according the LendingTree. Millennials are some of the top spenders during the season.
From e-commerce to price cuts to in-store technology, grocers can learn a lot from shoppers’ habits during the holiday season that can translate into building loyalty after the new year. Keeping an eye on the younger demographic, in particular, will help determine how stores evolve the in-store experience into a more streamlined and convenient process.