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JLL: Stores regain popularity for holiday shopping; preferred retailers are….

The holiday vibe will entice more shoppers to stores.

Shoppers are heading to stores for holiday shopping, attracted, at least in part, by a festive atmosphere.

Over 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 Retail Holiday Survey 2022. In-store shopping has experienced something of a renaissance this year, beating online ordering for the top shopping method, the study noted.

As to what consumers enjoy most about shopping in stores during the holidays, being able to see and touch the products before buying (54.5%) came out on top, followed by the holiday décor and ambience (36.9%) and avoiding shipping costs and delays (32.7%.)

In addition, nearly one-quarter like to enjoy the shopping experience with friends and family, and 20.7% of shoppers want the help of expert sales reps. Interestingly, more than twice as many men as women cited expert sales advice as a benefit to in-store shopping.

Ordering online — either from a pure-play online retailer or physical retailer — dipped from last year, with fewer consumers planning to shop this way. BOPIS (buy online, pick up in-store) has been growing steadily in popularity since 2019 and saw a solid 4.1 percentage-point gain from last year, while curbside pickup inched up slightly

The survey also found that shoppers plan to enjoy more experiences this holiday season. One-third of
shoppers plan to dine out more, while more than one-quarter plan to enjoy more entertainment activities like eatertainment or going to a bar. Shoppers also plan to attend large gatherings (10 or more people) this holiday, as well as go to the movies and travel.

More men than women plan to enjoy entertainment activities like dining out, going to concerts and bars, and seeing a movie. Women were more likely to host or attend a large holiday celebration, shop at an enclosed mall and see Santa. Younger consumers (under 45 years old) were more likely to indulge in experiences this holiday as well.

Preferred Retailers
Amazon once again heads (64.3%) tops the list of preferred 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 dropped to sixth place (7.5%) from fifth last year.

When it came to retail categories that consumers plan to visit, more than 60% of shoppers plan to visit at least one mass merchandiser, and nearly half of shoppers plan to shop at a department store. Mom-and-pop stores should feel encouraged, since 35% of shoppers plan to visit the local shops and boutiques in their area.

Must-Have Gifts
Consumers ranked toys and games as the top (12.5%) “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 food items consumers listed were very general, but a few stood out. These included Harry & David Confection fruitcake, Hickory Farms gift set and Williams Sonoma Peppermint Bark.

Other findings from the JLL survey are below.

• More consumers plan to shop deal days from home than in stores. Black Friday will be the most popular deal day for shopping in-store, with 39.7% of U.S. consumers planning to shop in person. However, even more plan to shop Black Friday online—54.2%.

Consumers will start holiday shopping early, especially affluent shoppers. More than half (53.8%) of shoppers will start shopping before Thanksgiving. About one-third of affluent consumers will start shopping before Halloween.

• Despite economic headwinds, overall holiday budgets will remain virtually the same as last year.

• Inflation will have a deeper impact on how consumers with modest incomes shop. Nearly half (49.7%) of consumers earning less than $50,000 plan to significantly cut their budgets.

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