Across demographics, consumers are buying melons—especially households with children. And it’s no surprise: Melons are delicious on their own but can also jazz up salads, smoothies, and drinks. They can swing sweet or savory flavor profiles, all while providing a healthy dose of vitamins A and C, potassium, and water content.
Robinson Fresh conducted a survey with U.S. consumers to learn about who is buying melons and the varieties they select, and to gain insight into factors that impact their purchase decisions. Using their responses, we uncovered several opportunities for retailers to increase melon sales.
4 ways to increase melon sales
Only 14% of consumers buy melons weekly, and 87% of all consumers who purchase melons buy one at a time. Of the four out of five consumers who purchase watermelon, 70% enter stores with plans to buy the fruit. To encourage consumers to purchase melons more frequently and in greater quantities, retailers can do these four things—just in time as the summer melon season gets underway.
1. Make an impact with a strong display in an expected, high-traffic spot
Impulse purchases of watermelon are largely impacted by the way they are displayed. Neatly stacked melons convey careful, gentle placement, which translates to non-bruised, pristine fruit. To consumers, a clean, full display means there are plenty of high quality melons to choose from—not just those that have been picked over and left behind.
Showcasing cut fruit is another way to create an impactful display. Doing so gives consumers a sneak peek at the fruit’s interior color and texture. When they see the vibrant color and juicy texture of at least one melon, they are likely to assume that all of the melons in the display are of the same quality.
2. Offer special promotions when supply is abundant throughout the year
To drive incremental sales, offer promotions that encourage consumers to purchase more than one melon at a time. Nearly two-thirds of consumers said that a promotion of two melons for a set price (for example, a 2/$6 offer) would entice them to purchase an additional melon. Allowing consumers to mix and match melons in this promotion—like mini seedless and cantaloupe—can offer an additional degree of appeal to encourage impulse purchases.
Notably, however, 80% of consumers who purchase watermelon have done so with a specific holiday, like the Fourth of July, or other occasion, like a family picnic, in mind. In these circumstances, most consumers aren’t price shopping: 85% said they buy watermelon at their regular store, with only 15% saying they will shop around for the best price.
3. Tout watermelon peak seasons throughout the year—not only during the summer months
Although the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports 70% of annual watermelon volume ships May through August, 44% of consumers purchase melons in all seasons. Younger demographics increasingly view watermelons as an “all seasons” fruit. And it truly is: Melons are grown around the world, so as one region’s growing season winds down, another starts up—and it is peak season again. Those complementary growing seasons make it possible to keep a continuous supply of fresh, flavorful melons in stores. Excite consumers using terms like “peak season” in signage and include ideas for using melons in new recipes and in more meals throughout the year.
4. Help consumers feel confident about the quality of melons in your store
Only about half of consumers who purchase melons expressed having confidence in choosing a ripe one. Interestingly, though melons are typically one of the least expensive fresh produce items per pound, consumers are much less likely to buy them on a whim if they aren’t comfortable selecting a “good” melon—one that is ripe, juicy, flavorful, or has the right texture.
To help build their confidence, retailers can educate consumers on how to select melons. For example, a melon that feels heavy for its size is likelier to be brimming with juice. A watermelon with a creamy-yellow splotch on its belly is at the peak of ripeness. The spot is where the melon sat on the ground as it ripened in the sun. If the spot is white or pale green, it may have been picked too soon and not be as ripe.
A deep understanding of consumer purchasing behaviors, preferences, and motivations can help retailers develop consumer-driven, consumer-aligned strategies that drive more sales. Working with Robinson Fresh also means working with a category insights team that’s focused on analyzing category and consumer data and trends and then turning findings into actionable recommendations and ideas.
Stay tuned for our latest consumer and category insights paper, The Sweet Spot: What Retailers Should Know about Consumers to Drive More Melon Sales, which will be available soon.
Connect with one of our fresh experts to explore opportunities for your melon program.