Let Them Eat Turkey: Thanksgiving Sales Won’t Suffer Amid Pandemic

Thanksgiving will strike a new chord this year as people take a step back and give thanks for the large and small things alike. While the way people physically gather will look different, folks are eager to find new ways to celebrate and preserve tradition. In mid-October, 85% of Americans said they still plan to celebrate Thanksgiving with 35% planning to change their traditions and how they celebrate. However, as the threat of coronavirus increases, it is likely that more people will be inclined to alter their turkey day plans. 

People’s desire to celebrate in spite of coronavirus means that grocery retail likely won’t take a hard hit and may in fact increase. 73% of people say they plan to spend the same or more this Thanksgiving as they did last year. Historical data shows a 7% increase in household grocery spending in the weeks prior to Thanksgiving, and this year it is up 24%–so it is safe to say the turkey day foods people know and love aren’t going anywhere.

In terms of where people plan to shop, 67% say they will go to grocery stores, 58% say superstores and 26% say warehouse clubs. Regardless of if people heed the CDC’s recommendations to celebrate only with those you live with, spending will likely remain unchanged which provides ample opportunity for brands and retailers to connect with new and existing audiences. 

In an effort to spread goodwill, Ibotta is working with Walmart on a promotion to give millions of families a free Thanksgiving meal. Ibotta users can receive the discount on up to nine food staples and must download the platform’s app or use its new browser extension to redeem the offer. This program appeals to a shopper need—as an estimated 50 million people have not had enough to eat this year as a result of the pandemic—while also promoting Ibotta’s new digital offerings and driving people to Walmart.

In a more lighthearted partnership, Whole Foods Market and Progressive Insurance have teamed up to create a turkey “insurance plan” that allows the first 1,000 people who make a turkey cooking mishap claim to receive a $35 Whole Foods gift card.

As has been the case for nearly every holiday in 2020, brands and retailers are finding new ways to make themselves relevant as shoppers’ needs and mindsets are ever-evolving. 

Contributed By: Bailey Sims, Insight & Strategy, Denver

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