In brief

In brief

  • Price and convenience are still highly relevant, but grocery shoppers are receptive to a wide range of incentives to open their wallets.
  • Responsibility and sustainability – both to the environment and consumers – are the bywords for food retail this holiday season and beyond.
  • Grocery consumers are becoming more health-conscious, even in their holiday mealtime planning.

Accenture’s latest Holiday Shopping Survey confirms that, as expected, competitive pricing and convenient location are the biggest drivers for grocery shoppers in the holiday season and beyond.

But it also shows food shoppers are receptive to a wide range of incentives, with product range, product quality, product transparency, and healthy living solutions all relevant factors for at least three-quarters of grocery consumers.

With such a wide menu of incentives to choose from, it’s essential food retailers get to know all of their customers better: what matters to them individually – and what will encourage them to open their wallets – in each moment.

Grocers must push forward with customer data analytics initiatives, using micro-segmentation to understand what will really motivate shoppers on a hyper-localized level in each market.

Food is at the heart of responsible retail – most consumers will shop at a trusted grocer due to its commitment to social and environmental justice.

As part of this, grocery retailers should also consider revamping their loyalty programs, taking inspiration from leaders who have replaced traditional points-based programs with hyper-convenient personalized digital experiences that offer new insights into consumer preferences and behavior.

Grocery consumers are choosing products based on responsibility and sustainability credentials.


say they’d like to buy products in specific desired quantities to reduce waste.


want retailers to offer incentives for recycling unwanted items.


said they want clear labelling to show a product’s sustainable or ethical credentials.


want to be shown the origin of ingredients or materials used.


are keen to bring their own containers for buying loose produce to reduce plastic use.

Source: 2019 Accenture US Holiday Shopping Survey


Overall, almost half (45%) of consumers also said they were more likely to do their shopping with retailers who demonstrate a responsibility to address wider social issues through their business practices and working conditions.

The responsibility agenda also extends into the realm of individual customer relationships and pricing decisions. More than half of consumers think a retailer’s responsibility for price matching guarantees increases over the holidays. And nearly as many think a retailer’s responsibility for ensuring data security also increases.

Holidays get serious – fewer parties, less indulgence

Price-sensitive shoppers are getting more focused about their food purchases this holiday season. Almost three-quarters (72%) say they’ll be spending no more than they did over the previous festive period (a rise of 8 percentage points on those who said the same last year).

What’s more, fewer consumers say they’ll be hosting parties this year, even those on higher incomes. Nearly a quarter say they won’t be hosting guests at all over the holidays.

And when it comes to the holiday spread, it’s out with the sweet treats and in with healthy holiday living. Consumers expect to spend more on fruits, plant-based foods, and organic and vegan foods, while spending less on cakes, desserts, sweet foods, and soda.

Whether this preference for healthy products withstands the temptations of the holiday season remains to be seen. But it’s a clear trend to watch out for in the year ahead.

Jill Standish

Senior Managing Director – Global Lead, Retail

Lori Zumwinkle

Managing Director & Retail Lead, North America


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