More Proof the Consumer Is Back: Survey Suggests Increases in Early, In-Person Holiday Shopping

Consumers are already planning for the holiday season, according to a new survey from Shopkick that shows 22% of people plan to shop well ahead of winter festivities — and shoppers are feeling increasingly comfortable going to stores in person.

In addition to the early shoppers, of which 25% plan to have their shopping done by Thanksgiving, Shopkick found that 43% plan to buy items in physical stores, up 9% from a year ago, while 57% still plan for most holiday shopping to take place online. The survey, which was conducted July 5 to 12 of more than 23,000 people, also showed that 10% of people expect to have holiday shopping completed before Halloween.

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Big box retailers like Walmart and Target are the go-to retailers for shopping in person. “When it comes to the in-store experience, the ability to try on, touch, and see physical products and in-person interactions with sales associates were ranked as most important, followed by product sampling , complimentary gift wrapping, and holiday activations like on-site Santas,” Shopkick said in a statement.

Many consumers also plan to spend more: 15% are increasing their budget, while 64% plan to spend the same as last year, Shopkick said. About 26% of consumers from Gen Z have more to spend, meanwhile, with half of this generation saying they have to shop for more people. Financial security is also coming into play, with 45% saying they feel comfortable spending.

Don’t rule out the power of Amazon, though. Shopkick said 73% of those surveyed plan to make Amazon their go-to retailer online. By generation, though, Gen Zers and Millennials prefer Etsy, while the Silent Generation prefer eBay, the survey found.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday will continue to be important shopping days for online spending, particularly for Gen Zers and Millennials.

“Consumers are eager to get their holiday shopping done this year, and they are ready to spend,” said Dave Fisch, general manager of Shopkick. “As retailers prepare for their biggest season, it will be imperative that they get an earlier start, improve their omnichannel and e-commerce capabilities, and offer the best deals on the traditional days consumers have come to love.”

For those shopping online, an overwhelming percentage of consumers surveyed expect free shipping, while 60% expect fast shipping. Shopkick found that just 31% expect flexible and long return policies and only 19% see the “buy now, pickup in store” service as a priority.

The National Retail Federation expects full year retail sales to increase 10.5% to 13.5% from 2020 to $4.4 trillion to $4.56 trillion.

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