Seafood, retail sales surged during 2020 holiday season

Retail sales were higher than expected during the 2020 holiday season – and sales of seafood shone as a particularly bright spot.

Frozen seafood was “one of the strongest performers” in the overall supermarket frozen food department, growing 23 percent in December versus a year ago, 210 Analytics Principal Anne-Marie Roerink told SeafoodSource.

“While in the early months of the pandemic we saw people fall back into more conservative eating patterns, health is reemerging as a big driver of meal and food choices in the later months," Roerink said. "Seafood is one of the proteins with a strong health halo and sales have been strong for many months."

Similarly, fresh seafood sales surged 24.5 percent during the month, according to IRI and 210 Analytics. Shellfish sales surged 36.7 percent, while finfish sales rose 17.3 percent during December.

Overall retail sales during the 2020 November-December holiday season grew 8.3 percent over the same period in 2019 to USD 789.4 billion (EUR 652 billion), exceeding the National Retail Federation’s forecast.

The numbers include online and other non-stores sales, which ramped up nearly 24 percent to reach USD 209 billion (EUR 173 billion). Notably, grocery and beverage store sales rose 9.6 percent during the season.

“Despite unprecedented challenges, consumers and retailers demonstrated incredible resilience this holiday season,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said in a press release. “Faced with rising transmission of the virus, state restrictions on retailers, and heightened political and economic uncertainty, consumers chose to spend on gifts that lifted the spirits of their families and friends and provided a sense of normalcy given the challenging year.”

NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said consumers splurged on holiday gifts and other items due to heightened confidence from the new round of stimulus checks after Congress passed legislation right before Christmas.

“Consumers were also encouraged by the news of COVID-19 vaccines becoming available, which helped offset concerns about increased infection rates and state restrictions on activity,” Kleinhenz said.

NRF said U.S. President Joe Biden’s stimulus proposal, the America Rescue Plan, will help to keep the economy growing. The plan includes “direct payments to families and individuals, further aid for small businesses and tools to keep businesses open,” Shay said.

Photo courtesy of Poring Studio/Shutterstock


Want seafood news sent to your inbox?

You may unsubscribe from our mailing list at any time. Diversified Communications | 121 Free Street, Portland, ME 04101 | +1 207-842-5500