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12/14/2020

Promotions Run Flat in Food Retail as Year Winds Down

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Promotions Run Flat in Food Retail as Year Winds Down
With fewer promotional offers being made available to shoppers than pre-COVID times, consumers’ grocery bills are higher than this same time last year.

As the new year looms, promotional activity in the food retail world has leveled off, according to a new analysis from Nielsen.

With fewer promotional offers being made available to shoppers than pre-COVID times, consumers’ grocery bills are higher than this same time last year.

The findings come as the holiday shopping season heats up and as consumers continue to load their pantries as the virus surges across the country.

In its new report, Nielsen found that:

  • In Nov. 2020, consumers paid +3.1 percentage points more for the same popular grocery items than they did at this time last year.
  • For context, this number was +3.2 percentage points for Oct. 2020 (compared to October 2019) and +3.5 percentage points for Sept. 2020 (compared to Sept. 2019).
  • However, Thanksgiving saw some return of promotional offers for a brief period of time compared to the suppression of promotional offers during recent months. Yet these offers were not enough to offset inflation of prices. 
  • By the end of Nov. 2020, 27.5% of units were sold on promotion, a 6.1 percentage point decline compared to Nov. 2019. This means shoppers have less opportunity to purchase items on sale and save at the register.
  • For shoppers, this means they are paying more than the pre-COVID time period.
  • This is prevalent in the Grocery department, where the percent of units sold on promotion are down -6.1 percentage points versus pre-COVID levels.
  • The Household Care department’s portion of units sold on in-store promotion is down -11.6 percentage points versus pre-COVID levels.

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