Online shopping has become a sport during Thanksgiving week and beyond, and it's also starting to play a role in the holiday meal itself. In many ways, the convenience of buying groceries online seems well-suited for larger-than-usual gatherings, even if it is used by only a small number of consumers.
According to JDA Software, the vast majority of respondents (83.1%) said they plan to shop in-store only for their Thanksgiving grocery needs. However, there is a small, growing segment that is buying groceries online (7.3%) and using a combination of online and offline channels (8.7%).
Convenience was given as the No. 1 reason (67.1%) for not shopping in-store this year, rather than it being more cost-efficient to use a meal kit or have groceries delivered (20.8%).
Nonperishable goods were the category most internet users were planning on buying online (60%), which is in line with grocery shopping generally, but fresh items like produce (45%), a turkey (40%) and dessert (39%) were also planned purchases.
Meal kits are used by a fairly small number of consumers—just 4% in the past month, according to Bizrate Insights—so their low usage for holiday cooking (1.0%) isn't surprising. But that hasn't stopped brands from marketing Thanksgiving meal prep. HelloFresh launched a Thanksgiving Box this year, with ingredients to make everything including the turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce and dessert for up to 10 people, starting at $14.90 per serving.
According to analysis by search intelligence company Captify, between October 1, 2017, and November 8, 2018, searches for meal kits increased by 2,000%. By specific brands, searches for Blue Apron grew the most (188x), followed by HelloFresh (180x), Green Chef (62x) and Amazon at a distant fourth place (10x).