ICSC: Omnichannel wins, with physical stores at epicenter

A just-released holiday survey reinforces the dominance of the omnichannel shopper.

Nearly one-third (32%) of shoppers the past holiday season used the click and collect method – with 69% of these shoppers purchasing additional items in the store when they went to pick up the item and 36% making another purchase in an adjacent store, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers’ Holiday Consumer Purchasing Trends study.

What’s more, 60% of holiday shoppers used their mobile device while shopping in a store to do such things as compare prices, check availability and view reviews/ratings. And 56% of holiday shoppers researched products before they even entered the store.

"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.

Brick-and-mortar also fared well in the survey, which reported that 91% of consumers shopped in physical stores during the holiday season. Seeing, touching, and trying on merchandise was cited the number one reason to shop in store (32%), followed by the ability to browse (26%), and the ability to get the item right away (24%).

“The American consumer has sent a clear message that the physical store remains at the epicenter of the shopping experience,” McGee said.

In other survey findings:

• Forty percent of shoppers say they spent more this season than in 2014, with 33% spending the same this season. Only 23% said they spent less than last year.

• Shoppers like the ease of returning and exchanging products in store, with 20% of shoppers electing to shop in-store because of this advantage.

• On average, 62% of holiday shoppers spent on gift cards, with an average spend of $145.  Of those that received a gift card, February or later (43%) is the most likely time for them to redeem it, followed by January (39%) and the last week of December (18%).

• Forty-eight percent of holiday shoppers made a purchase in the apparel/footwear and electronics/devices categories this holiday season.

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