Holiday preparedness: It's never too early to start planning

The holidays are fast approaching, and shifting consumer behaviors are driving innovation and change in retail. There is a lot at stake when it comes to capturing a more well-informed and price-conscious shopper for large events like Thanksgiving and Christmas—basket sizes are larger and there is more planning involved than a typical weekly trip. Making sure your strategy is in line with shopper expectations and desires is key to success.

Getting ahead: People start planning their trips for holidays and events twice as far ahead as a normal week. In fact, according to Market Track's Shopper Insight Survey conducted in May, over 40 percent of primary household shoppers indicated that they plan for a week or more leading up to a holiday trip. This means that early communication is important, as the majority of shoppers are looking to save money by looking for deals. In fact, 56 percent of shoppers say they decide what to buy and then look for discounts on those items, and 36 percent say they look at what's on sale and then decide what they want to buy. Only 7 percent said they don't look for sales on holiday items.

Multiple inputs and multiple trips: Not only are shoppers planning ahead, but they are leveraging multiple media to find what's on sale. The print circular is still most widely used for price comparisons; however, the digital circular and retailer websites are also heavily used. Market Track conducts the Shopper Insight Survey quarterly, and over the course of the past four years, digital media use in grocery shopping has increased by 10x. People also make considerably more trips to the store for events and holidays, with over half indicating they make 3 or more trips.

Online is here: For special events and holidays, over 20 percent of respondents shop for groceries online. This increase shows the growing propensity for people to look for convenience and indicates a growing level of comfort in purchasing consumables online.

How far in advance do you begin planning your holiday grocery shopping trips?

Where do you compare prices before shopping for groceries? Select all that apply

Leading up to a holiday or special event, how many trips to the store do you make?