A new survey found that 30% of consumers expect holiday grocery shopping to be more stressful than usual this year and plan to take an omnichannel approach as a result.

With six fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, 50% percent of those who regularly shop online for groceries plan to do so more than usual this holiday season, and 46% of shoppers who don’t use online grocery still reported they would be somewhat likely to order a prepared meal from a grocery retailer, according to facilities management company ServiceChannel, which surveyed 1,500 people about their holiday food shopping plans.

“With a shorter holiday season than usual, the pressure is on for consumers to get their holiday shopping done in less time and grocery stores to offer an efficient and enjoyable place for consumers to shop for their holiday meals and ingredients,” ServiceChannel CEO Tom Buiocchi said in a news release. “Our survey data confirms that this year, the holiday food shopping experience will be truly omnichannel and increasingly multi-dimensional. Consumers will be relying on a blend of digital and brick-and-mortar options, as well as prepared meals to ease the burden of cooking, and they’ll be looking for grocery shopping venues where they can get multiple to-do’s done conveniently and in less time.

“With food spending the second biggest category after gifts, there is not only revenue up for grabs for grocers this season, but also a chance to show customers they can deliver on a shopping experience they truly want any time of the year,” Buiocchi said.

According to the survey, 29% of respondents plan to order prepared holiday meals or dishes, including 36% of men and 21% of women. Sixty-three percent of all respondents said they would be at least somewhat likely to order a fully prepared holiday meal from a grocery retailer if that option was available. Interest was highest among millennial and Gen X shoppers.

When it comes to in-store shopping, consumers say that retailers can ease their stress most by adding more checkout lanes and staff, especially for off-hours times that will be busier than usual as people try to avoid the crowds.


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