Shoppers are buying Thanksgiving items early as stock levels of some core products are declining.
Although this Thanksgiving may be more traditional than last year’s get-togethers, consumers’ shopping habits are not normal in comparison to pre-pandemic times. That’s what fresh findings from Chicago-based market research firm IRI show, as shoppers remain mindful, if not worried, about possible product shortages and higher food costs.
According to IRI data for the week ending Oct. 17, more people are planning ahead and already buying items that are typically purchased closer to the run-up of Thanksgiving. Based on current in-stock rates of the top 25 Thanksgiving-related categories – which are fluctuating on a state-by-state and sometimes regional basis – IRI recommends that manufacturers and grocers monitor their stock levels to allocate enough products and accommodate shoppers who are shifting their shopping patterns amid supply chain concerns.
IRI’s latest information shows some relief on whipped toppings and frozen pastry shells that were less available last week, but indicates a lower stock level for other Thanksgiving staples of bottled cider and pie/pastry fillings. This underscores the need for shoppers and retailers to make substitutions if and when necessary on a daily or weekly basis, based on the most recent supply chain risks.
“There is some variation in availability of key products across markets and, therefore, brands must be strategic and leverage real-time data to understand demand granularly and optimize their promotions and supply chain operations to capture a slice of that opportunity and earn shoppers’ loyalty,” concluded Dr. Krishnakumar “KK” S. Davey, president of IRI client engagement.