Selling to consumers hunkering down at home this holiday season

As the coronavirus ramps up across the country (and globally), it looks like the winter holidays will be particularly challenging for small businesses. But in her blog on the Mintel site, Marcia Mogelonsky, Ph. D., Mintel’s director of Insight, Food & Drink, says there are ways businesses can have a successful holiday season.

Since we’ve all been advised to stay home for the holidays, businesses should consider catering to consumers looking to celebrate in their own homes. Those who have more time off during the holidays will be planning “staycations.” So Mogelonsky suggests, whether you sell food, paper goods, party accessories, or home décor, you cater to that vacation-at-home theme.

Be mindful of consumers’ budgets since they may be concerned about the economy and their health concerns. Mogelonsky thinks food, whether intended for serving or gifting, should be offered in small or single-sized serving packages. She also suggests budget-minded shoppers might give festively-packaged confections or other snacks as gifts. Another opportunity for food businesses or retailers is selling individually-wrapped spicy chocolate bars or individually-bottled spiced wine or cider for consumers to give to any carolers who stop by. (These are easy to put in a basket and let people pick their own, so you can maintain proper social distancing.)

Mogelonsky says, “This is the time for manufacturers and retailers to step forward with ‘the next normal way’ of celebrating, with pre-wrapped treats and single-serve beverages to replace buffet tables and punch bowls, and hygienically-packaged, portable treats to enjoy when celebrating the holidays close to home.”

She says, “manufacturers and retailers should promote at-home events, fun gifts, and hygienic treats, all delivered to the door.” And, she adds, “this is the time for food gifts to shine.” Restaurants should promote gift cards/certificates, including ones that include food delivery.

Her final advice: “The 2020-21 holiday season will be challenging for consumers. It will also be challenging for manufacturers, who must pivot from established ways of providing holiday treats for big groups of people to increasing the availability of smaller, more intimate holiday fare. They can also help consumers recreate vacation experiences by bringing signature dishes home.”

Holiday food gifts stock photo by Calvste/Shutterstock