Physical stores and shopping centers were the biggest winners this holiday season, according to research conducted by the ICSC (formerly known as the International Council of Shopping Centers).
“Overall, the 2017 holiday season was a big win for retailers,” said ICSC President Tom McGee. “As we begin 2018, both shopping centers and their tenants need to innovate and deliver the products, experiences and services that consumers expect.”
Retailers benefited from the longer season. Almost 30% of consumers began shopping in October or earlier and 51% finished the week before Christmas, with 10% of those surveyed finishing shopping on Super Saturday during the final holiday weekend.
A total of 90% made purchases in a physical store, 40% used click-and-collect, and 46% ordering online from retailers with a physical presence and then having the merchandise shipped. Of those who used click-and-collect, 90% bought additional items once they were in the store, while 62% ordered from pure-play online retailers.
Similar to 2016, the most popular gifts were gift cards (68% versus 63% in 2016), apparel (48%, versus 50% in 2016), and toys and games (37%, versus 44% in 2016), rounding out the top three.
About 66% of consumers shopped at discount stores like Target or Walmart, with 47% choosing to shop at department stores like Macy’s or Nordstrom.
The third-most-frequented stores were supermarkets and wholesale clubs, where 34% of the respondents said they made purchases.
Shoppers cited the ability to see, touch, browse and try on items (44%), to take advantage of deals and promotions (36%) and to get items immediately (34%) as the primary reasons for shopping in store.
Consumers also continue to integrate mobile technology into their in-store shopping experience, with 53% using devices like smart phones to compare prices, 37% checking for inventory and product availability and 36% looking for discounts or coupons.