Winsight Grocery Business: How the 2021 holiday season could look different for grocery
Accelerating cases of COVID-19, pleas from public-health officials not to travel and a country on edge after a contentious presidential election gave a decidedly subdued tone to the 2020 holiday season. The season was marked, too, by smaller gatherings—if gathering in person happened at all—and heightened use of online ordering from grocers and mass merchandisers.
This year, consumers have shown they're eager to get back into stores and embrace in-person gatherings with family and friends. As of this spring, more than 40% of consumers were expecting to spend the holidays with more people than they did last year, according to an 84.51° survey, and Walmart's leadership team alluded in May to strong expectations for a robust holiday season as vaccinations allow more Americans to resume in-person holiday celebrations.
But the delta variant in the past several weeks has created new unknowns for retailers, and rising prices are a growing concern for consumers, too. So how could this year look different, and how must grocers reinforce their value proposition heading into fall and winter holidays? Michael McGowan, SVP of commercial insights and loyalty for 84.51°, Kroger's data analytics and personalized marketing subsidiary, talked with Winsight Grocery Business about what he sees.