Omnichannel shopping expected to rise as consumers heed COVID-19 precautions, shop earlier this holiday season
Consumers are eyeing Thanksgiving Weekend with careful optimism, as the new ICSC Thanksgiving Weekend Intentions survey found that 85 percent expect to shop in the period beginning Thanksgiving and ending Cyber Monday. On average, consumers are projected to spend $470 on holiday items over the course of the weekend. Among those planning to shop, 44 percent expect to spend more than they did last year. ICSC’s research reveals a swell of interest in omnichannel formats, a sign that retailers capable of meeting demand both online and in-person will be best positioned for success in this unprecedented holiday season.
The study found that even in this year’s COVID-19 environment, 52 percent of respondents believe Thanksgiving Weekend and Cyber Monday promotions remain as important as ever—down only one percent from 2019. Fifty-one percent expect to shop on Thanksgiving Day and 72 percent expect to do so on Black Friday, both figures are in line with the 2019 season. Seventy-three percent of respondents will shop on Cyber Monday.
Despite these intentions, the volume of shoppers visiting stores is expected to drop this year largely due to concerns over the coronavirus. Sixty-nine percent of respondents indicated that they would spend in a physical store, down from 84 percent. This dip can also be attributed to retailers’ extended promotions cycles—43 percent of consumers indicated they will do less shopping over Thanksgiving Weekend after taking advantage of earlier sales events like Amazon Prime Day, Target’s "Deal Days" or Walmart’s "Big Save Event."
"Thanksgiving weekend will look different this year due to the pandemic, but consumers will still spend time shopping for holiday gifts and items," said Tom McGee, President and CEO of ICSC. "Shoppers have become accustomed to omnichannel shopping and will take advantage of it, in addition to going to stores, to make purchases."
Retailers with a physical store presence will continue to capture the greatest share of consumer dollars this Thanksgiving Weekend. ICSC’s survey revealed that 91 percent of respondents will buy from retailers with omnichannel offerings; they are projected to capture 67 percent of total expenditure. 69 percent expect to spend from pure online vendors, an increase from 58 percent in 2019, accounting for 29 percent of total expenditure.
For the first time, deals and promotions did not rank as respondents’ top determinant when choosing where to shop over Thanksgiving Weekend. Instead, 36 percent indicated COVID-19 precautions would be the top factor, emphasizing the need for retailers to provide a safe environment and communicate the measures they are taking.
"Malls and shopping centers are historically a hub for holiday tradition and festivity, so the holiday season may feel different this year as retail spaces contend with the challenges of COVID-19," said McGee. "Nevertheless, as our survey clearly indicates, consumers’ enthusiasm for Thanksgiving Weekend shopping remains strong."
The ICSC Thanksgiving Weekend Intentions Survey was conducted online by Engine Insights on behalf of ICSC November 13 – 15, 2020. The survey represents a demographically representative sample of 1,002 U.S. respondents.
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Shannon Troy, Media Relations Manager