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Walmart Leverages Holiday Grocery Deals to Hold Onto Market Share

Walmart grocery cart

Walmart is doubling down on its strategy of holiday season grocery deals in an effort to take advantage this high-stress time to secure market share and customer loyalty.

On Wednesday (Oct. 18), the company announced “even bigger” deals on Thanksgiving meals and other holiday food items through Dec. 26, doubling down on the “inflation-free” holiday meal initiatives last year.

Specifically, it is once again “removing inflation” from popular brands’ Thanksgiving meal products, offering two meals for the holiday at lower prices than last year — one for those cooking it themselves and another ready-to-bake alternative. The company’s pricing initiatives span items such as turkey, ham, stuffing and pumpkin pie, among others.

“Saving money remains a top priority for our customers, and this holiday season, we’re building on the investments we made last year knowing they need it now more than ever,” Walmart U.S. President and CEO John Furner said in a statement. “We’re better positioned than ever … to help customers save money and live better, especially during the most exciting time of the year.”

The move to lower costs on highly popular items comes at a time when Walmart is in some cases making more conservative decisions as far as protecting its margins, such as skipping the seasonal holiday hiring spree.

Yet consumers indeed make key grocery loyalty decisions based on prices and deals. According to the PYMNTS Intelligence report “Consumer Inflation Sentiment: The False Appeal of Deal-Chasing Consumers,” which draws from a census-balanced survey of more 2,100 United States adults, revealed that 44% of grocery shoppers are deal chasers, willing to go wherever they will get the best price.

Moreover, the majority of shoppers have been finding ways to cut down their grocery costs. Another installment of the same PYMNTS Intelligence series, “Consumer Inflation Sentiment Report: Consumers Cut Back by Trading Down,” which is based on responses from more than 2,000 U.S. consumers, found that 57% of shoppers have cut down on nonessential grocery purchasing. The study also revealed that 47% of switched to merchants that offer better prices, and 36% have been purchasing cheaper alternatives of the same products, such as store brands.

These concerns are at the top of many grocery shoppers’ minds at times when they are spending more, such as, for example, the holiday season, according to the latest installment of “New Reality Check: The Paycheck-to-Paycheck Report,” “The Seasonal Financial Distress Deep Dive Edition,” a PYMNTS and LendingClub collaboration.

The report, which draws from a survey of more than 4,200 consumers, finds that people most commonly experience seasonal financial distress during the holiday months — November and December. Plus, 40% of those surveyed reported that, during these times of financial challenges, they spend less on their basic needs, such as their daily groceries.

As Walmart touts its lower prices, it is also emphasizing its digital options. In fact, last holiday season, at least for grocery giant Ahold Delhaize’s U.S. business, saw record-breaking digital engagement.

“From a technology standpoint, we have a fairly robust trend tracker of all transactions are coming through, and it’s highest we’ve seen — at least, during Thanksgiving it was the highest number of transactions — since all the previous holidays,” Rom Kosla, executive vice president, information technology and chief information officer for Ahold Delhaize USA’s services company, Retail Business Services, said in an interview with PYMNTS last year.