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ICSC: In-store visits to surpass online shopping Thanksgiving weekend


A majority of shoppers, 81%, intend to do most of their spending in physical stores during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend (Nov. 24-27). This total increases to 95% when you include consumers who will shop at those same physical retailers’ online channels (omnichannel retailers).

These are among the findings of the “2016 Black Friday Consumer Survey” from International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC).

Converse to the 95% of Thanksgiving weekend shoppers planning to shop with omnichannel retailers, only half (51%) plan to spend with pure play online retailers. This isn’t surprising when pure play online-only retailers still only account for a mere 3.5% of all annual retail sales, according to analysis from U.S. Census and Euromonitor data.

The study suggests that omnichannel retailers have a significant competitive advantage as more consumers demand an integrated shopping experience. For example, 37% of Thanksgiving weekend shoppers intend to utilize technology to buy items online and pick them up in the store. Meanwhile, 76% of these shoppers will then make additional purchases when picking up their items in-store.

“Winning omnichannel retailers embrace both clicks and bricks, leveraging the relationship and logistical benefits of their physical store network while using technology to simplify and enhance the shopping experience,” said ICSC president and CEO Tom McGee. “As we prepare for one of the season’s key spending weekends, we expect to see more retailers looking for ways to engage consumers in-store and online to make the most out of their omnichannel strategy.”

One way consumers will blend the digital experience is through their merchandise research efforts. For example, during the Thanksgiving weekend, 94% will conduct research online prior to making in-store purchases. Among the 89% of those with a mobile device, they will use it in a store to compare prices (65%); get digital discounts/coupons to use in stores (47%); research product information (42%); read reviews or ratings (41%), and check inventory (38%), the study said.

As expected, a majority of shoppers (84%) will be influenced by promotions during the holiday weekend. In fact, in-store deals and promotions were shoppers’ number one reason to shop at physical stores over the weekend.

For others, Black Friday weekend is all about “the experience.” Specifically, 78% percent of Thanksgiving weekend shoppers planning to visit a mall or shopping center during the holiday weekend will engage in an experiential activity such as dining at a restaurant, seeing a movie or having a child’s picture taken with Santa.
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