Christmas – here and gone before you know it. And now what?

A week today “it” will be all over – well the big day itself will be, but what about the days following? In the latest Mustard Christmas blog, Richard explores what consumers say they prioritise in the days between Christmas and New Year.

Every year FMCG businesses and the whole retail sector gear up for “Christmas” (understandably given the commercial opportunities), but to what extent is their untapped potential (and a gap in knowledge) about what happens thereafter?

This time next week it will be Boxing Day (or St Stephens Day if you prefer). What will UK consumers be doing, eating, planning, buying, drinking? What do they need in the window between Christmas and New Year? What does the grocery sector in particular need to be doing (or saying) to cater for their needs once the presents have been unwrapped and the sprouts, just about, digested?

Personally, I’ll be manning the water station at the annual Chevin Chase race near Otley, a race celebrating its 40th year.  Looking at feedback from our research, other people will be heading off to see family, going on holiday, or off to the football or racing.

In our recent survey of 550 UK grocery shoppers, conducted between 28th November and 5th December 2018, we wanted to establish what consumers main priorities are in the period between Christmas and New Year – particularly in terms of food, drink and their use of supermarkets.

Here’s what they told us.

People will still be treating themselves!

Top answer is “still enjoying the seasonal sweet treats – mince pies, stolen, cake, chocolates, etc.” (42% say this is a priority) – and WAY further down the priority list is “healthier products after all the food and parties” (only 15% say this). People are more inclined to say they prioritise “treaty and indulgent products because it’s Christmas and the healthy eating can wait till the new year!” (27%).

But they will be “eating up” and avoiding the supermarket if they can

That said, they are likely to be consuming what has already been bought, with 35% saying “lots of relaxed “grazing” meals eating up the bits and pieces” and 29% saying “trying to avoid going to the supermarkets”.

Party food and sharing

The whole Christmas season is synonymous with party food and sharing formats, and this comes through strongly in our research. Consumers are having friends and family come over, and will themselves be visiting family and friends. Even within the household, one in three say they prioritise “sharing food we can enjoy together in front of the TV” (32%).

Christmas 2018. And now what?
Christmas 2018. And now what?

Aligned to this is food that is “quick and easy to prepare” (31% say this is a priority). As one respondent told us, it’s the small details that can make a difference as to how easy (or difficult) the job of hosting can be:

Christmas 2018. And now what?

What is less important at this time?

Interesting, consumers say it is relatively less about being healthy, eating out, alcohol and low prices.

Christmas 2018. And now what?

How are priorities different by shopper type?

There are some interesting sub-group variations to explore – consumers loyal to the different supermarkets can have slightly differing priorities. For example – relative to the others:

  • ASDA shoppers prioritise sharing food in front of the TV, drinking plenty of alcohol and relaxed “grazing” meals eating up the bits-and-pieces
  • Tesco shoppers prioritise long dates (so they don’t have to throw too much away), food that is quick and easy to prepare and making the most of the sales and offers
  • Sainsbury’s shoppers prioritise going out to have a break from the cooking, having friends and family come over and making the leftovers interesting
  • Morrisons shoppers prioritise treaty and indulgent products (because it’s Christmas and the healthy eating can wait), drinking plenty of alcohol and making the leftovers more interesting
  • Those shopping at Aldi and Lidl, more so than others, say they try to avoid going to the supermarket

For a full breakdown of the results by retailer, please contact David or Richard in the Mustard office on 0161 235 5270.