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IRI Releases New Grocery Trends Data Ahead of Thanksgiving Holiday

Data provides new insight into trends in the 25 grocery categories that drive $2.2 billion in sales for the four weeks leading up to Thanksgiving

IRI®, a global leader in innovative solutions and services for consumer, retail and media companies, today announced new insights on Thanksgiving-related grocery trends. As the holiday season approaches and widespread supply chain challenges continue to impact industries across the economy, IRI has been tracking a variety of holiday-related items to gauge their availability, demand, price and promotion for Thanksgiving and Christmas. The resulting important insights will enable retailers and manufacturers to make better decisions about merchandising, promotional activity, and other variables to drive growth and profitability, and to deliver for shoppers during the holiday season.

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“Consumers are planning for big holiday celebrations this year, so the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving are a tremendous opportunity for grocery retailers and CPG brands”

“Consumers are planning for big holiday celebrations this year, so the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving are a tremendous opportunity for grocery retailers and CPG brands,” said Dr. Krishnakumar (“KK”) S. Davey, president of IRI Client Engagement. “IRI’s latest study shows that sales uplift for edible products in the four weeks leading up to Thanksgiving are typically worth approximately $2.2 billion. There is some variation in availability of key products across markets and, therefore, brands must be strategic and leverage real-time data to understand demand granularly and optimize their promotions and supply chain operations to capture a slice of that opportunity and earn shoppers’ loyalty.”

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IRI tracked the top 25 Thanksgiving-related grocery categories, which account for 81% of the $2.2 billion in grocery sales uplift typically seen in the four weeks leading up to Thanksgiving. Based on data for the week ending Oct. 17, 2021, it identified these key findings:

  • Recent trends suggest more shoppers will be planning ahead. Historically, the sales uplift has been concentrated evenly in the two weeks leading up to Thanksgiving; however, in 2020, the bulk of Thanksgiving sales shifted a week earlier. For the 2021 season, retailers and manufacturers should prepare for an earlier wave of Thanksgiving shoppers and ensure they have key products stocked and a promotion strategy in place to capitalize on heightened demand.
  • Manufacturers should keep product allocation strategies nimble to accommodate in-stock level variation across regions. The in-stock rates of the top 25 Thanksgiving-related categories vary greatly across the country. In markets in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Florida, in-stock rates of the tracked Thanksgiving items are generally 7 to 9 percentage points above the national average. In markets in Texas, Nebraska and Kansas, supply shortages have contributed to in-stock rates between 9 and 11 percentage points below the national average. Manufacturers should closely monitor their in-stock levels by retailer and region and leverage both historical and real-time purchase data to anticipate shortages and allocate products across markets to accommodate shoppers’ shifting holiday demand patterns.
  • Shoppers should prepare to make substitutions, given supply chain risks in key categories. Product availability in the whipped toppings, liquid gravy, bakery pies and frozen pie/pastry shells categories were between 5 and 13 percentage points lower this week than the same time last year, but availability has been improving in these categories compared to a week ago. Conversely, bottled cider and pie/pastry filling categories have in-stock levels on par with this week last year, but their stock levels are low, and supply is declining compared to last week. Holiday shoppers should plan to shop early for those key ingredients that are experiencing significant out-of-stock levels or prepare to make creative substitutions.

The IRI CPG Supply Index, IRI CPG Demand Index, IRI CPG Inflation Tracker and IRI CPG Promotions Index are calculated from daily point-of-sale and e-commerce transaction data reported from major chains’ sales transactions.

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