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IRI has posted its predictions for Thanksgiving shopping trends, and here are some key findings:

•  "More shoppers than ever are shopping early. Sales uplift of Thanksgiving items in the three-week period ending Oct. 31 was 63%, compared to a historical uplift of 45% in years prior. This trend accelerated during the week ending Oct. 31, 2021, with sales lift up 86% compared to a historical average of 54%, driven largely by sales of wet broth/stock, turkeys, pie pastry filling and stuffing. Following widespread media reporting on supply chain challenges, 34% of consumers reported they are stocking up on certain items because they are concerned that the products might not be available the next time they shop. By closely monitoring these uplifts, manufacturers and retailers can more easily meet the needs of consumers with right products, prices and promotions."

•  "Shopping behaviors differ significantly across income level and age demographics.

"Lower-income shoppers wait to buy meat and sides items until closer to Thanksgiving, while middle- and high-income households are more likely to shop those categories ahead of the holiday week. However, data shows that households at all income levels buy pies, baking products and beverages in the weeks leading up to the holiday. Manufacturers and retailers without supply constraints who are targeting price-sensitive consumers should focus promotional efforts on pies, baking products and beverages as early as three weeks before Thanksgiving but wait to discount meat and sides until the week before or the week of the holiday.

"Older households are typically more likely to shop for their Thanksgiving supplies early, while younger households are more likely to wait to shop until the week of Thanksgiving, and are also more open to new traditions and brand-switching. Manufacturers and retailers should launch holiday digital campaigns when holiday shopping is most relevant to their target demographic, and focus promotions targeting younger households on products that attract shoppers to a new category."

•  "Meat and Pies categories have the most out-of-stock risk. Despite the continued acceleration of demand for certain Thanksgiving items ahead of the holiday week, in-stock levels for the week ending Oct. 31 were largely consistent with levels reported the week prior, with the exception of meat, which was down 3 percentage points. Meat and pies continued to be the only categories that show lower in-stock percentages compared to the year-ago period, down 13 and 3 percentage points, respectively." 

KC's View:

One of the things I keep noticing is how supermarkets are selling frozen turkeys for Thanksgiving, more than two weeks before the holiday.  I could be wrong, but is strikes me as earlier than in pst years … and is an appropriate move by retailers to get consumers to buy early and avoid potential shortages.

We've never been turkey eaters on Thanksgiving - the kids always ask for filet mignon and short rib mac and cheese, and it always seems to me that the best kind of tradition is the kind of you create yourself.  This year, though, we're actually going to a relative's house - she has a new grandbaby - and considering all the shortages, I've never been so glad not to have to do Thanksgiving shopping.

I'm bringing the wine - excellent Pinot Noir from Oregon's Willamette Valley.  Who could ask for anything more?