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Research: Familiar brands are top-of-mind for holiday parties

Beecher Eberhard
By: Beecher Eberhard, Senior Consumer Researcher
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After years of being unsure if they’d be able to gather with friends and family for the holidays, today’s consumers are optimistic about celebrating their favorite traditions with others this year. And some are already planning the meals, gifts and décor they’ll be using to make those celebrations sparkle. 

For many grocery shoppers, their tried-and-true favorite brands will have a preferred seat at the holiday table. In our latest report on holiday shopping behaviors, 84.51° research found that when stocking up for holiday parties this year, most shoppers plan to purchase brands that are similar to or the same as what they regularly buy throughout the year.  

But just because shoppers are not trading up or down, it doesn’t mean brands can take customers for granted or coast on their existing relationships. Our 2023 Brand Loyalty Report found that more than a quarter of customers (26%) define loyalty as having a preferred brand but being willing to try others, and only 5% of shoppers define loyalty as buying “that brand and nothing else.” 

The holiday opportunity

With competitors only a click or glance away, the key to winning this season is to make sure shoppers equate your brand with their holiday hosting needs. To stay top-of-mind with shoppers, brands can offer special discounts and promotions on essential holiday items. Providing recipes, meal ideas, and décor inspiration for hosts looking for party-planning inspiration, positions your brand as a solution to their holiday needs and helps your brand stand out. And since they’ll be buying more items to accommodate their guests, consider providing shoppers with offers designed for larger numbers and depth of discount. 

Tried-and-true brands

The chart below shows that more than three quarters (76%) of shoppers plan to buy brands/products that are similar or the same as what they typically buy. With hosts gravitating toward brands they know and trust for gatherings, brands have an opportunity to strengthen the customer relationship with loyalty rewards.     Targeted offers such as exclusive discounts, limited-time promotions and personalized coupons can help ensure existing customers stick with the items they routinely buy. Personalized communications thanking them for their loyalty with special offers and giving them early access to seasonal products can also help them stay loyal to their favorite brands.  

Brands for hosting

Base: Kroger Category Shoppers (n=400). Source: 84.51° Real Time Insights, May holiday survey 2023

Discovering new finds

While most shoppers stick to familiar brands for their hosting needs, our research found that a quarter of shoppers (25%) will buy different brands than those they typically buy. Whether they’re choosing more premium brands for a holiday splurge or opting for less expensive brands to stretch their holiday budgets, these shoppers provide brands with an opportunity to showcase their products in a new light.  

Several strategies can help brands overcome hosts’ risk aversion. Consider building authenticity and emotional connections by engaging shoppers through local community initiatives such as food drives or donation campaigns. Provide educational resources that help shoppers budget and find the best deals on their holiday hosting needs.     Offering product trials and in-store sampling lets shoppers experience your product risk-free. And collaborations with other brands (either in the form of co-branded products or special promotions) can help incentivize trial and land more of your items in shoppers’ carts. 

When hosts rely on their favorite brands for holiday shopping, it’s an opportunity for those brands to enhance customer relationships and provide differentiation and value in new ways. For more insights and strategies to help make your brand the brand of choice this season, download our latest white paper: From tradition to transformation: Examining holiday shopping trends and evolving customer habits.  


Beecher Eberhard
Beecher Eberhard, Senior Consumer Researcher
Beecher Eberhard is a Senior Consumer Researcher at 84.51° working on the Commercial Consumer Research team. Beecher has a passion for insights and helps our CPG clients uncover shopper behaviors that help bridge the ...

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