ICSC: Omnichannel shoppers to rule this holiday

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ICSC: Omnichannel shoppers to rule this holiday

By Marianne Wilson - 09/21/2017

Nearly all shoppers will be shopping a variety of channels this holiday season.

Ninety-six percent of shoppers plan to make a purchase from a retailer who has both a physical and an online presence, with 40% of them buying online and picking up in-store, according to a report by the International Council of Shopping Centers. And 81% of those shoppers plan to make additional purchases when collecting their item(s).

Consumers expect to spend on average $728.40 on gifts and other holiday related items this season, revealed ICSC's Holiday Shopping Intentions Survey. The group forecasts 3.8% year-over-year growth in retail sales for this holiday season.

"Our annual Holiday Shopping Intentions findings demonstrate that consumers are very optimistic this holiday season and that physical retail remains a cornerstone of the holiday season,” said Tom McGee, president and CEO, ICSC. “The more agile retailers are in meeting consumers’ demands for the seamless convergence of physical and digital shopping, the more success they will see.”

The ICSC report found an uptick in the number of people planning to shop before Thanksgiving at 66% — with 27% starting as early as August. The expected extension of the shopping season means the potential of more sales for retailers, as 46% of shoppers say they plan to spend more this holiday season.

In other key findings from the report:

• The top four categories for purchases this year are: Gift cards (66%), apparel/footwear (54%); toys and games (46%) and electronics/devices (34%).

• Eight-five percent of shoppers plan to research online prior to making purchases in-store. Three-quarters of holiday shoppers who have a mobile device will use it for shopping in a store to compare prices, get discounts and check availability. Nine out of 10 holiday shoppers expect to visit a retailer’s website or app to browse product information.

• Eighty-one percent of shoppers will visit a mall/shopping center to eat out (53%), catch a movie (32%) and/or participate in a philanthropic event or plan to attend a Christmas tree lighting/Menorah lighting/holiday parade (combined activities at 17%).

• Millennials will play an integral part in this holiday season with 92% planning to spend money in a physical store. On average, this demographic plans to spend $554.40 on holiday gifts and related items.

• More than any other age group, Millennials plan to take advantage of discounts on Black Friday (57%). Three-fourths of Millennials shoppers plan to spend online at retailers whose stores they also visited and 50% of them will buy online and pick up in-store.

“They [Millennials] not only want experience but they want convenience as well, which we see in their intent to utilize both online and physical,” stated McGee. “The theory that they are a digital-only generation is simply not true; they want digital to be a part of their transaction rather than the entire transaction.”