Nearly Half of Consumers Plan In-Store Holiday Shopping

But a new study found that 44% said COVID-19 changed how they prefer to shop. 

August 27, 2021

Christmas Shopping

LIVONIA, Mich.—Nearly half of consumers will stop by a brick-and-mortar retail store to shop this holiday season, and just over half will opt for online and curbside pickup options, according to a study by Escalent, “Sink or Soar During the 2021 Holidays: Redefine Your Brand and Gain Market Share.”

The study reveals a generational gap when it comes to travel plans, with older consumers holding back on taking trips or hosting big gatherings and younger consumers more eager to hit the road. Escalent interviewed 1,001 online respondents between April 28 and May 2, 2021.

“As pandemic restrictions continue to evolve and concern over new variants fluctuates, consumer habits are shifting rapidly in response,” Greg Mishkin, vice president of consumer and retail and telecom for Escalent, said in a July news release announcing the study. “A customized, omnichannel strategy will be all the more important to win over customers this year, as divisions remain over which shopping channel they prefer.”

The study also found that 44% of consumers said the pandemic has upended how they shop. However, similar to how they shopped during the pandemic, consumers on average plan to do 48% of their holiday shopping this winter in brick-and-mortar stores, 41% via online retail and 12% through curbside pickup services.

“The pandemic has made each holiday season decision—from shopping to travel and gathering traditions—a deeply personal one for each consumer,” Mishkin said. “Brands must act now to evaluate and cater to a diverse group of preferences to avoid being caught unprepared as we emerge from the pandemic.”

The just-released September issue of NACS Magazine examines how convenience stores are weighing the trade-offs between own-staff and third-party delivery services in “Delivery Dilemma.”

Register to attend the 2021 NACS Show October 5-8 at McCormick Place in Chicago and take advantage of the education sessions on the “new normal.” These include the sessions Meeting Consumers Where They Are—Everywhere and A New Approach to Dayparts on October 5, Moving Forward in the Post-Pandemic Economy and Drive-Thru and Curbside: Is This the Future for C-Stores? on October 6 and Moving On: Easing Guests Post Pandemic Fears on October 7.