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Prices Remain Big Worry During Thanksgiving Season

Butterball 2023 Thanksgiving Outlook Report

According to Acosta’s proprietary shopper community, prices remain a “big concern” this Thanksgiving, with 40 percent of consumers looking for deals, “using coupons and comparison shopping.”

Acosta reports that a majority of hosts plan to prepare the entire holiday meal themselves, while 40 percent plan to attend Thanksgiving as a guest.

The company also found that:

  • Men are more likely to be in charge of bringing beverages to the gathering;
  • Despite the popularity of a homemade meal, nearly half would consider buying it, especially younger generations;
  • Half of households hosting Thanksgiving will spend more than $100 on their meal;
  • Most will gather with smaller groups of 10 or fewer people, and 43 percent of younger generations will attend a Friendsgiving.

Circana shared similar insights as Acosta into anticipated consumer behavior and purchasing trends for Thanksgiving. 

The week prior to and the week of the holiday are critical sales drivers, although consumers also shop early for spot deals. While inflation of the holiday meal basket has eased, to an increase of 1.7 percent since 2022, consumers are unlikely to notice, given the 27.4 percent jump in prices since 2019. 

Thanksgiving trends for 2023 that were revealed in the new Circana report include:

  • Seventy-nine percent report they and their families will celebrate with the usual traditions.
  • Thirty-four percent of those who plan to celebrate state they expect to pay more for groceries, but will buy the same amount as last year.
  • Forty-four percent of Generation Z and younger Millennials will be looking for deals, the largest percentage among all shopper cohorts.

“Manufacturers and retailers have the opportunity to help consumers, many of whom continue to buy on deal, and celebrate Thanksgiving as they always have by understanding their specific needs and targeting promotions effectively,” said Joan Driggs, VP of content and thought leadership. 

“There is also significant value in gaining a complete view of consumers and their purchasing strategies, such as plans to source dishes from both home and retail as well as restaurant and foodservice.”

Thanksgiving provided an enormous $2.8 billion sales lift in 2022 compared to the average week, the second largest food holiday of the year, surpassed only by the Christmas sales lift of $6.2 billion. 

Additional trends that occurred in 2022 that Circana expects to continue this year include:

  • The Thanksgiving basket of 30 categories drove $2.1 billion, or 75 percent of the sales uplift, despite representing 9 percent of sales for those weeks
  • The percent of sales sold on promotion for last year’s basket nearly doubled to 50 percent, but the average depth of discount was similar to the rest of the year
  • Ten percent of Thanksgiving meals had an item sourced from a restaurant or foodservice.

Read more Thanksgiving news from The Shelby Report.

About the author

Sommer Stockton

Web Editor

Sommer joined The Shelby Report in January 2022 after graduating from Brenau University in Gainesville, GA with a B.A. and M.A. in Communications and Media Studies. Sommer is excited to learn about the grocery industry and share her findings with The Shelby Report's readers!

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