Hass’ Evolution of Seasonality
Summer has traditionally been considered the peak for retail avocado sales. However, a new study by the Hass Avocado Board (HAB) determined that it has changed. The Avocado Seasonality Drivers study suggests seasonal influences impact retail sales of avocados driven by supply chain dynamics and shopper purchase behaviors. These influences have steered the category into an evolution of seasonality.
The HAB study measures the impact of avocado shipment volume, retail sales trends, and shopper purchase behaviors on avocado seasonality and how it evolved from 2018 to 2021. According to the organization, the study’s objective was to identify data-based insights and growth opportunities for the avocado category based on the market factors impacting avocado seasonality.
The new study reveals some interesting trends:
As for overall volumes, the study indicates that avocados reached 2.8 billion lbs. in 2021, resulting in incremental shipments of 295 million since 2018, translating to an increase of almost 12% in just four years.
The Avocado Seasonality Drivers study also reveals that the first quarter is the new peak for avocado retail sales and offers actions and opportunities to grow sales of avocados throughout the year. Data shows that this change has been partially driven by increased household penetration and purchase frequency, with the first remaining steady at 58% since 2018.
According to HAB figures, first-quarter household penetration increased by two percentage points since 2018, reaching 44% in 2021. The number of first-quarter purchase trips also increased by 14% since the same year, reaching nearly five trips per household in 2021.
In simple terms, more people are buying avocados more often in the first quarter of the year, indicating that the Big Game may significantly impact the market more than in years past. Typically it’s around Cinco de Mayo and the summer months that would see a peak in avocado sales.
These purchase trends naturally highlight the importance of early to mid-year category dynamics. However, the second and fourth quarters represent a significant opportunity to grow sales of Hass avocados by focusing on specific shopper groups and converting more retail trips into avocado purchase trips.
The second quarter brings more Ultra shoppers – a segment that exhibits purchase behaviors that far exceed other groups – into the category with higher purchase frequency. These shopper behaviors drove greater retail dollar sales when average selling prices were highest. The second quarter offers more opportunities to connect specifically with Ultra shoppers as they reach peak engagement.
Since the fourth quarter represents the lowest engagement for avocado shoppers, with purchase trips hitting their lowest point at 179 million, the end of the year presents a significant opportunity to expand sales. Retail traffic in the grocery industry hits its peak in the fourth quarter, with nearly 10 billion trips made to retailers that carry avocados. Taking advantage of higher retail traffic during this time of the year can be a key factor in driving the next surge of growth in the avocado category.
It’s essential to understand the impact of avocado shipments, retail sales, and shopper purchase behaviors on seasonality to drive retail sales of Hass avocados. That’s why HAB suggests using the key actions and opportunities in its study to drive sales of Hass avocados during each quarter of the year.
Take advantage of key opportunities:
- Maintain the momentum of category growth in the first quarter by creating points of engagement with avocado shoppers.
- Focus on Ultra shoppers in quarter two when they reach peak engagement.
- Take advantage of higher retail traffic during the fourth quarter.
The goal is to maintain category momentum around events such as the Big Game or summertime gatherings and to connect with influential shoppers when they are highly engaged in the category by taking advantage of increased retail traffic near the end of the year.
Download the Avocado Seasonality Drivers study for yourself to learn more.