Shoppers are heading to stores for holiday shopping, lured, at least in part, by a festive atmosphere.
More than 63% of U.S. consumers plan to do at least some of their holiday shopping in-store this holiday season, up from 58% last year, according to JLL’s 2022 Retail Holiday Survey. In-store shopping has seen something of a renaissance this year, beating out online ordering for the best method of purchase, the study notes.
As for what consumers value most about in-store shopping during the holidays, being able to see and touch products before buying them (54.5%) came out on top, followed by holiday decor and ambiance (36.9%) and avoiding shipping costs and delays (32.7%).
Additionally, nearly a quarter of shoppers like to enjoy the shopping experience with friends and family, and 20.7% of shoppers want help from expert salespeople. Interestingly, more than twice as many men as women cited expert sales advice as a benefit for in-store purchases.
Online orders – whether from a pure online retailer or a brick-and-mortar retailer – have fallen from a year ago, with fewer consumers planning to shop this way. BOPIS (Buy Online, Pick Up In Store) has been growing in popularity since 2019 and posted a solid gain of 4.1 percentage points year-on-year, while curbside pickup increased slightly
The survey also revealed that shoppers plan to enjoy more experiences during the holiday season. A third of shoppers plan to eat out more, while more than a quarter plan to enjoy more entertainment activities like entertainment or going to a bar. Shoppers also plan to attend large gatherings (10 or more people) this holiday, as well as going to movies and travelling.
More men than women plan to enjoy entertainment activities such as dining out, going to concerts and bars, and seeing a movie. Women were more likely to host or attend a big holiday celebration, shop in a closed mall, and see Santa Claus. Younger consumers (under 45) were also more likely to experiment while on vacation.
Amazon is again at the top (64.3%) of the list of favorite retailers for holiday shopping, followed by Walmart (47.9%) and Target (38.8%). Kohl’s (9.5%) and Best Buy (8.2%) round out the top five. Macy’s fell to sixth place (7.5%) from fifth last year.
When it comes to the retail categories consumers plan to visit, more than 60% of shoppers plan to visit at least one mass merchant, and nearly half of shoppers plan to shop at a department store. Family-owned stores should feel encouraged, as 35% of shoppers plan to visit local stores and boutiques in their area.
Consumers ranked toys and games first (12.5%) in the “must have” holiday gift category, followed by clothing (11%) and mobile devices (9.8%). Other categories included home furnishings (9.1%) and food (8.3%).
Popular toys included Legos, Squishmallows, and Hot Wheels, while popular game consoles included PS5, Xbox, and Nintendo Switch. Apple products were very popular among must-have mobile devices.
Most of the must-have foods listed by consumers were very general, but a few stood out. These included Harry & David Confection Fruitcake, Hickory Farms Gift Box and Williams Sonoma Peppermint Bark.
Other results of the JLL survey are presented below.
• More consumers plan to shop on promotion days from home than in stores. Black Friday will be the most popular sale day for in-store shopping, with 39.7% of US consumers planning to shop in person. However, they are even more likely to plan to shop online on Black Friday: 54.2%.
• Consumers will start their holiday shopping early, especially affluent shoppers. More than half (53.8%) of shoppers will start shopping before Thanksgiving. About a third of affluent consumers will start shopping before Halloween.
• Despite headwinds in the economy, overall vacation budgets will remain virtually the same as last year.
• Inflation will have a deeper impact on how low-income consumers buy. Nearly half (49.7%) of consumers earning less than $50,000 plan to significantly cut their budget.