Survey: Shoppers will visit fewer stores during the holiday season

Survey: Shoppers will visit fewer stores during the holiday season
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

A survey shows shoppers will visit fewer stores during the holiday season, prodding retailers to attract consumers.

Results indicated that consumers will visit only 5.2 retail stores on average, based on the annual holiday survey published by the consulting firm Deloitte. The figure is a drop from seven last year, 6.9 in 2018, and 5.7 in 2017. The current data presents a record low for the survey, which asked 4,012 customers from Sept. 9 to Sept. 15.

Rod Sides, a vice chairman of retail and distribution at Deloitte, cites safety as part of the reason why consumers prefer to visit fewer stores this holiday season.

Findings also revealed that 51% of people are not at ease shopping in retail stores this holiday season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“If I can go fewer places and if I can check [more] things off my list … I think that’s going to bode well for mass retailers,” Sides said in an interview. “We’re all used to going there, and we’re used to their safety protocols,” he said about big-box chains, that sell a little bit of everything, like Walmart and Target.’

ADVERTISEMENT

Moreover, consumers also want to fit their spending in less time despite the deals offered by Amazon’s 48-hour Prime Day and other sales events. While retailers want to extend the season, shoppers plan to finish their holiday shopping in 5.9 weeks, according to the survey. This is 1½ weeks less than a year ago and a drop from 7.1 weeks in 2018.

Some shoppers are anxious about running out of funds if they begin spending too early, according to Sides. Or if their waiting is too long, they are afraid items would not arrive by Christmas.

Deloitte also discovered that people want to travel just 9.6 miles on average to purchase gifts. Meanwhile, 69 percent of customers would like to shop close to home when they are in stores and malls.

In-store shopping

A separate survey, conducted by Accenture in September, also shows that consumers will minimize in-store shopping for the holidays to lessen the risks to workers.

Findings show that people will opt for smaller gatherings and patronizing retailers that share similar values during the coronavirus pandemic. Accenture asked over 1,500 US consumers in August.

Findings show that people will opt for smaller gatherings and patronizing retailers that share similar values during the coronavirus pandemic. Accenture asked over 1,500 US consumers in August.

More than three-quarters of respondents said they prefer retailers to close on Thanksgiving Day so workers can rest and be with their families.

Jill Standish, who leads Accenture’s retail practice, explained that the coronavirus pandemic has made Americans reflect on the season. People would reorganize their houses as they work at the kitchen table or assist their kids with online learning.

Standish pointed out that the changes have deepened people’s empathy for their neighbors, colleagues, and even strangers who work at the store.

“We’ve all been in lockdown, and with our families, and school and home and work all collide,” she noted. “Holiday is just another extension of that. And yet it’s made us all a little bit more tolerant, a little bit more human.”

ADVERTISEMENT