The store’s the thing for Christmas says ICSC, but don’t neglect omnichannel

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas… Ok apologies if that means you’ve got that tune stuck in your head now (I have just by writing it), but you can always tell the time of year.

No, not because every other ad seems to have a version of that song, nor because of festive store windows windows or excited children wondering what Santa will bring them. What make sit feel like Christmas is near is Survey Season. It’s that time of year when organisation after organisation tells us how much we’re going to spend, where we’re going to spend it and on what.

The latest is from the International Council of Shopping Centers, which is a US group representing (you guessed it) shopping centres. But this one is actually quite interesting as it contains a few surprises.

For a start, Americans plan to spend 3.3% more in physical stores this November and December, the survey of 2,000 people showed. Really? In the age of the internet? Well yes. Apparently it’s the ability to try something on, like it, buy it and take it home that counts, all with no shipping fees. And being able to return it easily without having to go to a post office or wait for a courier to collect it is a big plus too.

It all means 91% of shoppers will be heading down to the mall this Holiday season, although 59% of them will also be visiting amazon.com.

christmasWhat that shows is that it’s not about offline OR online and perhaps consumers are more omnichannel-focused than we think. And they now expect seamless store/online experiences. So it’s no surprise that 85% of shoppers will browse online before buying in-store, 39% will use click & collect (up from 32% a year ago) and 85% of them will buy extra items when they pick up their orders.

Consumers also want a bit more when they go to the mall with 80% of them doing other stuff apart from just shopping. That means dining (53%), seeing a movie (36%) and dropping by to see Santa. As many as 50% of adults visiting a shopping centre with children under the age of 13 plan to have their child’s picture taken with him this Holiday season.

And last but not least, what will they be buying? Well it seems they’re not very adventurous because 64% plan to buy gift cards (which makes me think we all might as well just swap bundles of cash).

They’re also planning to buy fashion (51%), toys and games (46%), accessories and beauty products 39%) and electronics (38%), all out of an average spend of $684.

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