Labor Day Shopping and Celebrating Impacted by Delta Variant, Numerator Reports

Grilling and Gatherings Down; Click and Collect Poised to Win with Consumers

 

CHICAGO, Aug 25, 2021 – Numerator, a data and tech company serving the market research space, has released a two-part consumer sentiment survey to understand how people plan to celebrate, shop, and spend for Labor Day 2021. With the rise of the Delta variant, consumers have lowered their early summer expectations to return to celebrating Labor Day, particularly in the southern U.S.

The survey of 1,000+ Numerator panelists (done in June and August waves to understand the Delta variant) shows the following key findings among consumers who plan to cel­­ebrate Labor Day:

  • Consumer concern about COVID impacting Labor Day doubled in two months: In June, 8% of consumers expected COVID to have a significant impact on Labor Day celebration plans, and that number jumped to 16% in August. Those expecting no impact from COVID fell from 44% in June to 38% in August.
  • Consumer enthusiasm for Labor Day has waned: In June, 42% of consumers claimed they were somewhat or significantly more excited for Labor Day than in prior (pre-COVID) years. That dropped to 27% in August.

Consumers have adjusted their Labor Day celebration plans away from plans involving others:

  • Plans to celebrate Labor Day with family and friends dropped from 64% in June to 51% in August. That decline was more pronounced among vaccinated consumers (-17 pts) than among those who do not plan to get the vaccine (-6 pts).
  • Consumers in the South saw the biggest drop in plans to gather with family and friends, down from two-thirds to less than half of consumers (66% in June vs. 48% in August). Consumers in the Northeast saw the smallest decline, down only 7 points (59% in June vs. 52% in August).
  • Grilling and barbecuing see big declines: In June 2021, 64% of consumers said they planned to grill/barbecue for Labor Day, only a slight decrease from pre-pandemic years (67% of respondents). By August 2021, grilling plans saw a significant decline to 45% of consumers.
  • Celebration methods such as Traveling, Going out for Food/Drinks, and Attending Public Events/Festivals saw modest decreases from June to August (-3 pts, -2 pts, -3 pts, respectively), but were already well below their pre-pandemic levels as of June 2021.
  • Ordering Takeout Food / Drinks was the only celebration method that grew from June (8% of consumers) to August (9%).

Labor Day Celebration Plans: Change from June to August 2021

Percentage of respondents reporting

Celebration Method

Past Years

Jun 2021

Aug 2021

Aug 2021 vs Jun 2021

Gathering with Family & Friends

68%

64%

51%

-13 pts

Grilling / Barbecuing

67%

64%

45%

-20 pts

Attending / Hosting Parties

34%

26%

16%

-11 pts

Traveling

22%

12%

9%

-3 pts

Going Out for Food / Drinks

18%

11%

9%

-2 pts

Attending Public Events / Festivals

20%

10%

7%

-3 pts

Ordering Takeout Food / Drinks

10%

8%

9%

+1 pts

Percentages in chart rounded to nearest whole number.

 

When it comes to shopping for Labor Day celebrations, both categories and retail channels are seeing the impacts of shifting consumer behavior:

  • Click and collect benefits from consumers’ plans to stay home: More consumers are now planning to avoid going in-store for their Labor Day supplies, with 13% of consumers saying they will order via click and collect, up from 8% in June.
  • Grilling Materials (e.g. utensils, charcoal, etc) saw the most significant declines among tracked categories. In previous years, nearly half of consumers (47%) say they purchased Grilling Materials for Labor Day. In June, 37% of consumers planned to purchase Grilling Materials, and that fell to 31% in August.
  • With fewer consumers planning to celebrate with a group, traditional “party” categories are also showing declines from June to August, including Desserts (-6 pts), Decorations (-3 pts) and Side Dishes, Festive Apparel, and Sporting Goods/Outdoor Games (each down 2 points).
  • The categories seeing upticks from June to August were Fruits & Vegetables (+6 points), Snacks (+4 points) and Alcohol (+1 point).

About Numerator
Numerator is a data and tech company bringing speed and scale to market research. Headquartered in Chicago, IL, Numerator has more than 2,400 employees worldwide. The company blends proprietary data with advanced technology to create unique insights for the market research industry that has been slow to change. The majority of Fortune 100 companies are Numerator clients.

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