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The cloud of Covid-19 on holiday shoppers is lifting—only to be replaced by the showers of inflation, according to findings of a new shopper survey.

Rachel French

November 21, 2022

3 Min Read
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Holiday shoppers are less worried about Covid-19, but more worried about rising food prices, per a new survey by the Food Industry Association (FMI).

FMI’s Grocery Shopper Trends report is a monthly shopper survey that started in March 2020 and was intended to assess shoppers’ responses to the Covid-19 pandemic. The most recent survey, conducted in October, also highlights consumers’ attitudes around the upcoming holiday season.

The report found concerns related to the Covid-19 pandemic have diminished in recent months. In August, almost half (48%) of shoppers were very or extremely concerned about Covid-19. In October, that number dropped to about one-third (38%). More consumers also reported feeling safe doing such activities as shopping at a grocery store and eating at a restaurant, up 8% and 6%, respectively, compared to August.

In contrast, concerns over rising costs at the grocery store remain high heading into the holiday season.

The majority of shoppers (70%) reported they’re very or extremely concerned about rising food prices. Plus, half of shoppers (50%) reported they’ve noticed price increases across most food categories, including fresh meats, fresh produce, refrigerated dairy food and milk. These concerns are higher among households with children, of which 73% reported they’re concerned about increasing food costs.

What’s more, 65% of shoppers reported they worry about food more now than they did a year ago and more than half (57%) worry about how much they spend on groceries. About one-third worry about having enough to eat.

About two-thirds of shoppers (62%) said the amount of money they spend on groceries each week has increased over the past year. On average, shoppers spent about $148 a week on groceries in October, up from $136 in August but down from the peak of $161 during the pandemic.

How high prices are impacting shoppers’ holiday plans

Not surprisingly, consumers are anticipating the impact of high prices on seasonal celebrations. Almost half (45%) are worried about how high prices will affect holiday meals and celebrations.

About one-third of shoppers reported they plan to do the “bare minimum” for their Halloween (34%) and New Year’s (34%) celebrations, up 3% and 5% compared to last year, respectively. Interestingly, while about 28% of shoppers who celebrate Halloween said they planned to spend more on candy, almost the same amount (27%) said they planned to buy less.

Only about a fifth of shoppers reported they plan to do the bare minimum for their Thanksgiving (22%) and Christmas (20%) celebrations, up 1% for each holiday compared to last year, respectively.

In contrast, those who plan to celebrate the holidays to the fullest extent decreased compared to last year: 31% for Thanksgiving (-4%), 39% for Christmas (-7%) and 21% for New Year’s (-8%).

To address concerns about rising holiday costs, most consumers plan to seek out deals and sales (28%). Other popular cost-saving plans include buying more private label brands (21%), preparing more food at home (20%), making fewer dishes (17%) and substituting for more affordable options (17%).

Rachel Adams joined Informa’s Health & Nutrition Network in 2013. Her career in the natural products industry started with a food and beverage focus before transitioning into her role as managing editor of Natural Products INSIDER, where she covered the dietary supplement industry. Adams left Informa Markets in 2019.

About the Author(s)

Rachel French

Contributing editor

Rachel French joined Informa’s Health & Nutrition Network in 2013. Her career in the natural products industry started with a food and beverage focus before transitioning into her role as managing editor of Natural Products Insider, where she covered the dietary supplement industry. French left Informa Markets in 2019, but continues to freelance for both FBI and NPI.

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