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11/16/2021

Study: In-store holiday shopping to rebound

Marianne Wilson
Editor-in-Chief
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More Americans will shop in-store this year, primarily to risk shipping delays.

Fear of shopping delays is expected to give a boost to in-store this year.

More Americans are planning to shop in-store this year, rebounding near 2019 levels, according to Discover’s annual holiday survey. Thirty-one percent of consumers plan to shop in-store this year, compared to 35% in 2019 and 22% in 2020. Of those shopping in-store, 71% said it is because they do not want to risk shipping delays.

In other findings, younger generations are giving a big boost to holiday spending this year. Twenty-six percent of Americans are expecting to spend more during the holidays this year than last, up 10% from those who expected to spend more in 2020.

The increase is driven largely by the younger generations. Forty-four percent of Gen Z and 33% of millennials expect to spend more this year.

Other results from the Discover study are below.

• Americans are making up for cautious holiday spending last year, as 51% say they are planning to spoil their loved ones with more gifts. Nearly half, 48%, of those increasing their spending this year plan to spend $200-$599 more on gifts, while two in 10 said they would spend an extra $1,000 or more.

• Forty-percent of consumers say they will primarily use a credit card for gift purchases, followed by debit or pre-paid cards, 29%, and cast, at 15%. 

• Three in 10 people report feeling stressed, driven by their uncertainty about being able to afford gifts, the possibility of going into debt and even concerns about shipping delays.

• Fifty-six percent report if they encounter shipping delays they will spend more on little gifts so that the recipients have something to open.

• Black Friday continues to dominate the start of holiday shopping as the majority of people plan to start holiday shopping in November or December. Of those who plan to start the last two months of the year, nearly 63% say they’ll start the week of Thanksgiving.

[Read More: Consumers may not be starting holiday shopping early after all]

“I expect this year’s holiday shopping season to be a busy one as the economy continues to improve, but it doesn’t come without its challenges,” said Stefanie O’Connell Rodriguez, a nationally recognized personal finance author and Discover partner. “We’re seeing consumers factor in delivery timing, potential supply chain issues and earlier shopping as they start to cross off their holiday to-do lists.”