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Holiday Grocery Shoppers Turn to Prepared Meals to Avoid Stress

Twenty-nine percent of shoppers plan to order prepared meals or dishes to make things easier for the holidays, according to ServiceChannel.

Retail sales are expected to surpass one trillion dollars overall for the 2019 holiday season and, with food representing the second biggest category after gifts this season, 30% of consumers are expecting the holiday grocery shopping experience to be more stressful than it has in the past.

Consumers said the top things grocery stores could do to alleviate stress during the season is adding more checkout lanes and staff. Grocery stores should also staff-up for all-hours shopping, as 55% of shoppers plan to visit the grocery store at off hours.

More stress will mean more online shopping. Sixty-three percent of all respondents were at least somewhat likely to order a fully prepared holiday meal from an online grocery delivery service if it were available, with Millennials and Gen X the most interested.

Thirty-two percent of those who already shop online are very likely to order a fully prepared holiday meal from a delivery service, and 50% of those who regularly shop online for groceries plan to order them online more than usual. Compared to other generations, more Millennials (47%) and Gen Xers (53%) plan to order groceries online more often than usual.

Shoppers intend to split grocery delivery and in-store shopping fairly evenly. They will avoid stores if possible because of crowds and lost time, but they’ll want to purchase specialty items and produce in person.

Additionally, the report states that grocers must understand shopping preferences across generations and prepare for a new type of omni-channel shopper. Omni-channel shoppers enjoy going to the store and expect a lot from the experience.

Compared to non-digital consumers who shop only in brick-and-mortar stores, omni-channel shoppers do much more at the store, such as using banking services, picking up prepared foods, eating at in-store restaurants and grabbing a drink. For example, Gen Z, Millennials and Gen X will buy a coffee or tea during more shopping trips, while Boomers are looking to fill a prescription.

Although many consumers want various convenient services and amenities, one expectation they all have in common is stores should be clean and organized, with technology like WiFi and self checkout. Sixty-one percent of consumers even walked out of a store because it lacked tech amenities and 67% walked out because it wasn’t clean.