Last Minute Shoppers: Christmas 2015
5 February 2016
As convenience stores look to the flurry of events on the horizon, we’re looking back at the biggest national holiday of the year, Christmas. In preparation for Christmas 2016, we spoke to shoppers up and down the country and across various channels to find out how they behaved over the festive period.
Despite the increasingly fierce battle between supermarkets and discounter adverts starting mid-November, a large proportion of shoppers continued to leave their food and drink shopping to the last minute. 60% of shoppers finished their food and drink shopping for Christmas Day between 21st and 24th December with an impressive 8% of shoppers still purchasing on Christmas Day itself!
Elyse Charvin, Shopper Insight Executive at him! commented, “Traditionally when people organise Christmas dinner they want fresh produce so they intentionally leave the important vegetable, meat and dairy elements of the meal to the last few days.” This may seem like obvious shopper behaviour however it is not so clear why whilst on the rise; only 7% bought their food shopping from a convenience store last Christmas. After all Christmas can be a busy and stressful time, convenience stores should could be a place to ease pressures.
Charvin added: “Since people are seen to be rushing into stores at the last minute others are trying to plan ahead and order more online. We have also seen an increase in the number of people shopping online care less about price and more about convenience, it is growing.”
By shopping online people can schedule in deliveries to suit their needs and ensure that the food they receive is fresh therefore suppliers should make sure that their products can be bought online. In keeping with the theme of grocery going online, Amazon Pantry was launched to coincide with the festive season and included Christmas themed boxes to bring in shoppers looking to mix up their shopping habits.
Convenience stores on the whole remained pretty consistent vs. last year. C-stores do not tend to be the most popular channel choice when it comes to purchasing food and drink for events such as Christmas, the majority tend go to supermarkets and discounters. However we did see an increase in the number of shoppers who went to convenience stores for food as gifts and Christmas dinner ingredients.
Whilst online shopping is clearly one to watch for Christmas 2016, there are other areas that convenience stores can capitalise on. Charvin recommends, “convenience stores should expand their efforts to include products that shoppers may easily forget or run out of such as wrapping paper, advent calendars and Christmas crackers. Anything that can make the shoppers life more convenient and time saving is a good thing. Focus on USP other than price, there is clearly an opportunity in fresh produce over the days leading up to Christmas.”