EXPERT COLUMN: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year
With consumers on the hunt for everything they’ll need to prepare for the holidays, the next few months can be the most wonderful time of the year for retailers. The holiday season, starting with Halloween and ending with New Year’s, provides them with several opportunities to connect with shoppers and make an impact on sales of everything from candy to turkeys and even beer. In fact, Halloween and Christmas are in the top six beer-selling holidays in the United States, with a total volume of more than 51 million and 54 million cases, respectively, in only a two-week period.1
So how can grocers make an even bigger impact on sales this holiday season? Many of them will look for programs that specifically target the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population: Hispanics. Not only are Hispanics more driven to purchase by celebrations and holidays than their general market counterparts2 , they’re also more likely to increase spending for these types of celebrations.3 Furthermore, anchoring retail programs to relevant Hispanic holidays and traditions can effectively extend the sales period by several days.
Día de los Muertos
Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), a holiday celebrated throughout Latin America on Nov. 1-2, has increased in popularity among bicultural U.S. Hispanics and even among their general market counterparts. An occasion to remember loved ones who have passed away, the holiday is usually observed by gathering with family and friends for special meals and to highlight the items that their ancestors enjoyed in life, including -- you guessed it -- beer.
Brands have started to notice the popularity of Día De Los Muertos, and many have already leveraged the holiday to connect with shoppers through their passion points of culture, tradition and art. It doesn’t hurt that Día de los Muertos extends the high beer-selling period for two days after Halloween.
Within the Heineken USA portfolio, Indio beer recently wrapped up its Day of the Dead retail program, which took over small- and large-scale retail accounts across California, Texas, Chicago, Las Vegas and Phoenix. Thematic POS materials educated shoppers on the holiday by highlighting key visual elements of the celebration such as cempasuchil (marigold flowers), photo frames and papel picado (perforated tissue paper banners). Throughout the four-week program, the dark Mexican lager brand encouraged Hispanic bicultural Millennials 21 and older to “Do Their Thing” and celebrate the holiday in their own way with Indio.
Christmas and New Year’s Eve are the pinnacles of the holiday season for most retailers, and the last chance of the year to generate sales. So why not extend it as much as possible?
Retailers can leverage a tradition in Mexico known as the Maratón Lupe-Reyes, a string of holiday celebrations that kicks off Dec. 12 and ends Jan. 6. Yes, that’s 14 separate occasions within a three-week period for Hispanic consumers to celebrate with family and friends.
To keep shoppers coming back to the store throughout Lupe-Reyes, Tecate and Tecate Light are providing grocers with a program comprising a variety of elements designed to give men of carácter everything they need to “survive” the Maratón season. For example, the attention-grabbing POS goes beyond price cards, cooler decals and case stackers to include a calendar-format “Survival Guide” poster with tips for consumers to make it through the celebrations responsibly. There’s also a text-to-win sweepstakes of branded items, such as glasses and domino sets.
Additionally, Tecate is partnering with brands like Guerrero tortillas and Tajín seasoning to offer consumers enticing mail-in and instant rebates on these holiday party essentials, while expanding Tecate’s visibility outside of the beer aisle and driving cross-merchandising purchases for higher basket rings.
These retail holiday programs have been well received in the market, as they give large- and small-scale retailers the opportunity to extend the most wonderful holiday shopping period and connect with their Hispanic customers in relevant and impactful ways.
 National Retail Federation and BIGInsight Research; "Nielsen Top Beer Holidays," 2011
 "Nielsen Top Beer Holidays," 2011
 "Mintel Holiday Study," 2012
Gustavo Guerra is brand director for Tecate Franchise and Indio at White Plains, N.Y.-based Heineken USA.