Labor Day Retail Trend: In-Store Shoppers Search for ‘Seasonal Delights’

Labor Day Retail Trend: In-Store Shoppers Search for ‘Seasonal Delights’

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As Labor Day weekend approaches, consumers across the United States are gearing up for a unique shopping experience. While online shopping has become a significant part of daily life for most Americans, the holiday weekend is expected to witness a surge in in-store shopping. A recent survey of Labor Day shopping preferences conducted by Vibenomics, a Mood Media Company, found that nearly half (45%) of consumers intend to shop in physical stores during Labor Day weekend, and high on their list of items to shop for are “seasonal delights,” including flavored desserts, snacks, and beverages.

Labor Day holds important significance for retailers, marking the unofficial end of summer and the beginning of the fall shopping season. It serves as a crucial transition point in the retail calendar, prompting consumers to prepare for a change in seasons, holidays, and festivities. Retailers are known to leverage this opportunity to clear out summer inventory through sales and promotions, making way for the introduction of new fall and back-to-school merchandise. 

Labor Day weekend also coincides with the last chance for most families to shop for back-to-school essentials, creating a rush of shoppers seeking clothing, school supplies, and electronics. Retailers are known to strategically capitalize on this period to boost their revenue and set the tone for the upcoming holiday shopping season, making Labor Day a lucrative time on the retail calendar.

Return to In-Store Shopping 

Years after pandemic-induced lockdowns prevented consumers from leaving their homes, in-store shopping continues to grow back into what it was before 2020. The renewed interest in in-person shopping this Labor Day weekend can be attributed to various factors, including the desire for more immersive shopping experiences and the anticipation of finding unique seasonal items.

While the majority of consumers in the Vibenomics survey indicated they plan to shop in-store this Labor Day weekend, another 38% said they plan to shop in a combination of in-store and online. Just 15% said they plan to shop exclusively online and have items delivered to their homes. An even smaller figure — just 3% — plan to do curbside pickups.

That figure is remarkably lower than 2021, and even 2022, when curbside pickups were in-demand at both big box retailers and local stores. And that’s despite big-box retailers still seeing the lion’s share of sales. According to Vibenomics, 81% of consumers plan to shop at big box stores this weekend, followed by online retailers, dollar or discount stores, grocery stores, home improvement stores, and drug stores.

The most important factors when deciding where to shop are price, quality, and variety, followed by promotions or sales, functionality, and availability. Sixty-seven percent of consumers in the Vibenomics survey said they plan to take advantage of in-store promotions, and 60% plan to use coupons.

Seasonal Delights on the Radar

One standout trend this Labor Day is the strong consumer interest in what Vibenomics refers to as “seasonal delights.” Sixty-five percent of consumers say they plan to shop for seasonally-flavored desserts, and 63% plan to shop for seasonally-flavored snacks. Seasonally-flavored items topped all other anticipated product categories in Vibenomics’ survey, including yard care items and Labor Day-gathering items.

Based on that, it’s clear that bakeries and pastry shops should expect to see an increase in sales this upcoming weekend, as customers stock up on seasonal treats. Beverage choices are equally important to consumers. Pumpkin spice lattes, caramel apple cider, and mulled wine are some of the seasonal favorites expected to be best-sellers. Local cafes, coffee shops, and liquor stores can gear up by catering to customers looking for drinks to complement their Labor Day gatherings. 

In direct response to the trend toward purchasing more seasonal treats, a number of big box stores have revamped their displays to showcase seasonal items more prominently, and they’re expanding their seasonal product offerings to ensure that customers have a wide variety of flavored desserts, snacks, and beverages to choose from. 

For more fall retail insights, check out Back-to-School 2023 by the Numbers by Street Fight’s Nancy A Shenker.

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.