Online and mobile commerce may have experienced big spikes this holiday season, but 91 percent of shoppers still chose to visit physical stores.
The vast majority of shoppers—198 million—visited a brick and mortar location between Nov. 1 and Dec. 25, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). The traffic is largely buoyed by retailers’ omnichannel efforts, including those to make stores more personal.
“Looking back at the holiday season, the major trend that emerged is the prevalence of the omnichannel consumer and the resulting convergence among brick and mortar and digital retail,” said Tom McGee, president and CEO of ICSC. “The story of bricks vs. clicks is an old one. The story is now one of a shopper getting the best of both worlds, using online research and capabilities to inform physical purchases. The American consumer has sent a clear message that the physical store remains at the epicenter of the shopping experience.”
Seeing, touching and trying on merchandise was cited the number one reason to shop in store by 32 percent of respondents in ICSC’s Holiday Consumer Purchasing Trends report, followed by the ability to browse (26 percent) and the ability to get the item right away (24 percent).
Shoppers also embraced the ease of returning and exchanging products in store, with 20 percent of shoppers choosing to shop in-store because of this advantage. A recent survey by Retale found that 64 percent of shoppers prefer to make holiday returns in stores.
Still, digital shopping played a big role this season according to ICSC, as close to 60 percent of shoppers used a mobile device in-store to check prices and availability, and read ratings and reviews.
Click-and-collect also proved popular with shoppers as nearly one third opted for the service and a whopping 69 percent made additional purchases at the time of collection.