More than Half of Consumers Expected to Shop in Stores This Holiday Season

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Retailers with a physical presence have an advantage over pure-play ecommerce companies this holiday season, according to a survey by JLL Retail, with 57.3% of consumers planning to make the majority of their purchases there.

Of those citing this preference, 31.7% planned to shop in store, 15.2% said they would buy online and pick up in store, while 10.4% said they would purchase directly from the retailer’s website, JLL found in its survey.

The survey were asked of more than 1,000 shoppers in the U.S.  The survey was conducted in October of 2018.

JLL found that as retailers continue to push back the start of the holiday peak season, 34.4% of consumers plan to start shopping before Thanksgiving, while 28.6% said they will do so over Cyber Weekend.

“This may be due in part to how people are relying on multiple retail channels,” said James Cook, Americas Director of Research for JLL Retail. “Customers can buy gifts at their leisure instead of waiting until Black Friday to get all of their shopping done.”

The survey found that only 16.9% of consumers are waiting until two weeks before Christmas to start their shopping, down from 18.3% in 2017.

JLL found a of holiday shoppers will do most of their purchases online, but will still head to the store for some of their shopping.

“Having a physical location definitely helps since it provides the consumer with a level of convenience and instant gratification that an online storefront can’t provide,” said Cook. “Especially now that the retail channels are beginning to blend with more physical retailers offering online ordering with in store pickup.”

The biggest shift in expected shopping habits came in mobile, with 50.3% indicating they will make at least one purchase from their phones, more than double the 22.2% who planned mobile buying in 2017.

Shoppers also indicated that they would use their mobile devices to look for deals and discounts (39.1%), for product reviews (34.5%), get inspiration for gifts (30%) and check inventory before heading to the store (21.9%). are more likely to check product reviews on their phones prior to purchase.

Consumers will , JLL found. Forty-four percent of respondents said they plan to spend over $500 on gift buying this holiday season. Men plan on spending more than women, with 30.6% of men saying they will spend more than $750, compared to 26% of women. However, 44.4% of women said they would have moderate holiday budgets in the $250 to $750 range, compared to 36.8% of men.

JLL found Amazon at 22.1%, Walmart at 15.8%, Target at 12.3%, Macys at 4.3% and Best Buy at 4.1%. More lower income consumers planned to shop at JC Penney than other demographic groups, while Kohl’s was a popular choice among women and younger millennials aged 18-24. The survey found older respondents preferred shopping at Nordstrom.

“This year we will see consumers taking full advantage of multichannel retail experience with many customers indicating they will be using their mobile devices to do research, price out comparisons, and order goods while in the store or from the comfort of their home,” said Cook. “Physical retail will continue to be the number one channel in terms of volume by far this holiday season. But as the blending of channels continue the store will evolve to provide customers with greater convenience and experience options as well.”

The two most popular categories of physical retailers are discount stores (26.8%) and department stores (21.1%), JLL found. Industrial real estate also plays a big role as both ecommerce and store-based retailers are looking to reduce costs by keeping inventory in one central warehouse.

“Industrial real estate is at a premium with both ecommerce and clicks-to-bricks retailers relying on warehouse space as retail channels continue to blend, especially in and near urban cores where traditional warehouses and distribution centers are few and far between,” said Matt Powers, Executive Vice President of JLL’s Retail/Ecommerce Distribution Practice. “To account for these densely populated markets and growing multichannel demand, companies need to consider innovative solutions to last-mile delivery that reshape the conventional logistics landscape.”

Department and discount stores are popular choices among women this holiday season, cited by 22.9% and 13.1% of female respondents, respectively. One surprising statistic: 33.3% of young millennial women said they planned to do most of their holiday shopping at a department store, while just 17.4% of female Baby Boomers said they would visit discount stores this holiday season.

Comparatively, the JLL survey found more men will be visiting electronics stores (8.8% to 3.1%) and jewelry stores (2.5% to 0.6%) than women this holiday season.

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