ICSC: Holiday shoppers prioritized deals, promotions; shopping center visits up

All the surveyed retailers expect to receive their holiday inventory on time.

Prices, product availability and convenience shaped holiday shopper behaviors in 2022.

That’s according to the ICSC Post-Holiday 2022 consumer survey in which 43% of respondents noted that low prices or good promotions were key motivating factors in where they shopped, significantly ahead of 33% in 2021.

In related findings, 53% of holiday shoppers reported spending significantly more time looking for deals and promotions than in the past. And 64% preferred retailers’ efforts to offer promotions throughout the season as opposed to limiting them to traditional “deal days” like Black Friday.  

The survey also found that 74% of holiday shoppers visited a shopping center during the 2022 season, up from 70% in 2021.  Thirty-nine percent of total spending was in physical stores, up from 34% in 2021 and 33% in 2020.  

Higher prices ranked as the number one challenge (40%) consumers faced this shopping season. Fifty-three percent of shoppers spent more than last year, identifying higher prices as the number-one factor behind the increase. 

The fight to curb inflation also impacted shoppers in other ways. Seventy-two percent of survey respondents said rising interest rates impacted their behaviors, leading them to cut back on spending (42%), use cash more than usual (35%) and use debit cards instead of credit cards (33%).

Other highlights from the ICSC survey are below.

• Gift cards (59%), apparel and footwear (55%) and toys and games (50%) were the most popular categories for shoppers this season. 

• Overall, 89% of consumers – 230 million people – bought gifts in the 2022 holiday season.

Shoppers spent $574 on gifts in 2022.  

• Sales across the 2022 holiday season increased by 5.2% over 2021. Food and beverage sales increased 13% year over year. 

“It’s clear that persistent inflation and economic concerns are shaping shopper behaviors, but there are signs of resilience across the marketplaces industry,” stated Tom McGee, president and CEO, ICSC. “Consumers continued to embrace in-store shopping and took advantage of deals and promotions throughout the season. The holiday season will be an important springboard for retailers as we head into 2023.”

The ICSC Post-Holiday 2022 consumer survey was conducted January 4-6, 2023, with a demographically representative U.S. sample of 1,010 respondents.

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