Customers are Planning Differently for Thanksgiving — and Walmart is Ready

Family at Thanksgiving Meal

Oct. 20, 2020
By Jacqui Lyons, Divisional Merchandise Manager, Seafood and Seasonal Meat, Walmart

When it comes to grocery, the weekend before Thanksgiving is typically a busy one as shoppers across the country begin to prepare the holiday meal. This year has brought rapid and constant change in every facet of our daily lives, and we know Thanksgiving celebrations will be no exception. The sprint to Thanksgiving is likely going to be spread over a greater number of days, and the largest turkey in the freezer is less likely to be the star.

In fact, demand for turkey will undoubtedly look different this year, and at Walmart, we made early shifts to ensure our customers would find the items they want for the Thanksgiving meal.

Here’s how we’re preparing for ‘center of plate’ this Thanksgiving.

COVID-19 continues to reshape how people shop, and in turn, it’s sure to reshape traditions this holiday season. In fact, according to Butterball, the number of consumers who plan to host extended family and friends for Thanksgiving has dropped from 30% during a typical year to 26% this year while those who plan to celebrate only with immediate family has risen from 21% in a typical year, to 31%.

With more customers planning for smaller groups, we anticipate a higher preference for smaller turkeys. As always, we’ll have plenty of whole turkeys, but this year, we’ve increased our assortment of bone-in and boneless turkey breasts by 20-30% in stores across the country.

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We also learned a lot from our customers this past Easter. To avoid crowds, shoppers stocked up earlier than ever. That’s going to continue this holiday season. It’s no longer about catering to a single peak the weekend before Thanksgiving. This year, Walmart customers can take advantage of everyday low prices on a range of turkeys beginning earlier in the season on November 2.

Following Easter, ham sales continued to peak even into summer as people were inspired to cook differently at home. We expect that trend to continue right into Thanksgiving dinner. With Walmart customers planning smaller gatherings and prioritizing convenience, ham will be in the spotlight and we’ve increased our inventory accordingly.

We know this year has been difficult for our customers and their families. We know they’re busy and burdened, and we know they want to make the holiday special. Regardless of how they plan to celebrate Thanksgiving, we’re committed to ensuring our customers can find what they want earlier in the season, all at affordable prices. From turkey and ham to all the sides, our merchants have been busy preparing for a season unlike any other so that our customers can take comfort in knowing the items will be here in our stores and available for online pickup and delivery, ready when they are.

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