Americans plan to approach the upcoming winter holidays inclusive of Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and New Year’s Eve cautiously with health top of mind, as 79% say they plan to celebrate at home and 54% in smaller groups, according to a new consumer survey commissioned by NCSolutions (NCS).
Looking ahead to 2021, consumers indicated optimism that the nation’s health would improve. Almost half (45%) are optimistic that the conditions will improve, 32% think it will stay the same and 23% believe it will decline.
Optimistic Americans, those who believe the country’s overall health situation will improve, also plan to celebrate the winter holidays at a greater rate (94%), according to the survey findings. In addition, more than one in four (26%) say they plan to spend more this year than they did last on food and in-home meals/celebrations, compared to 14% of those who feel the situation will stay the same and 17% who feel it will decline.
"Consumers are optimistic about the future and have warm associations with celebratory foods around the holiday season,” said Linda Dupree, CEO, NCSolutions “In general, holiday advertising planning is a critical time for brands. Consumers have emotional associations and loyalties to the products found at the tables and celebrations for all holidays throughout the year. In 2020, in particular, more people will be celebrating at home - and cooks are more likely to experiment with new dishes, ingredients and food items. It’s an excellent moment for brands to connect and engage new and loyal buyers alike."
When asked when they thought the COVID-19 pandemic would subside in the U.S., Americans voiced a range of predictions including 68% who said 2021, 20% who are looking to 2022, and 12% who believe it will be 2023 or later.
Two-thirds (66%) of Americans plan to celebrate New Year’s Eve this year, and 28% are planning to hold a virtual New Year’s Eve celebration or participate in a virtual watch party. This rate is even higher among those who expect the country's health situation to improve: 35% of these optimistic Americans plan to have a virtual New Year’s Eve celebration.
When looking for recipes or meal inspiration, these virtual celebrators plan to do the following:
- 61% plan to use social media
- 54% indicate they will use cooking websites
- 47% say they will watch TV
“The news that consumers are optimistic about 2021 is a powerful call-to-action for both retailers and CPG brands,” Dupree said. “The consumer behavior changes we’ve seen in 2020 will be fundamental inputs to advertising plans in the first half of 2021. However, positive consumer sentiment paired with intentions to spend more on holiday celebrations and meals this season — as shown in our recent survey — is a reflection that collectively consumers see a light in these darker days of the pandemic. We all yearn and look forward to an era of less pandemic-focused living. ”