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The 2016 Thanksgiving holiday period saw an “unprecedented increase” in online grocery sales, indicating a large consumer shift from brick-and-mortar stores to online for holiday grocery shopping needs.
Measuring both online and in-store shopping activity across several regional U.S. grocers, Toronto-based Unata found a 19-fold lift in online grocery sales, compared with in-store sales, during the Thanksgiving period. The digital solutions provider compared purchases made during an “average shopping period” (Oct. 28 to Nov. 19) versus the “Thanksgiving shopping period” (Nov. 11 to 28).
Additionally, Unata discovered an average increase of 22.6 percent in online interactions during the Thanksgiving period. Unique users rose an average of 20.3 percent.
These data suggest that consumers would rather grocery shop online than in stores during busy holiday times. Therefore, if grocers don't offer customers a way to shop online, they will miss out on incremental sales during busy periods, according to Unata.