Are stores going to turn into ghost towns?
According to survey findings from Square, 56 percent of retailers expect that many consumers will not shop in-store at all over the holiday selling season. Yet an accompanying survey of consumers found 79 percent feel safe shopping in a physical store.
The survey of U.S. consumers, taken in November, found 53 percent of consumers still wanted mask requirements for stores.
A number of other recent surveys appear to indicate that consumers remain somewhat comfortable with in-store shopping when safety measures are in place and see benefits versus shopping online:
- A survey taken in late October from ENGINE Insights found 85 percent of consumers plan to shop in physical stores for their holiday gifts. However, 72 percent plan to go to stores during less busy days and times.
- A survey from NMI taken in in October found 29 percent plan to primarily shop in-store this holiday season and 40 percent plan to shop both in-store and online. When asked which factors will have the most impact on their choice of retailer on Black Friday, the top answers were: store sanitization, cited by 47 percent; social distancing guidelines, 45 percent; and convenience of purchase, 43 percent.
- ICSC’s Thanksgiving Weekend Survey conducted online on Nov. 30 found that, of those who chose to shop online, 44 percent listed health and safety concerns as a reason, with bigger factors being convenience, cited by 60 percent, and wanting to take advantage of promotions, 47 percent. Among those who chose to shop in-store, the top reasons were: seeing, touching or feeling items, cited by 55 percent; getting items immediately, 54 percent; and the convenience of one-stop shopping, 39 percent.
The in-store optimism comes despite Sensormatic Solutions reporting store traffic over Black Friday weekend tumbled 49 percent, although the company suggested weekday traffic rates over December should improve.
Brian Field, senior director of global retail consulting, Sensormatic, said in a statement, “All of our data suggests that more shoppers are using their work-from-home status to visit physical stores during the week. It appears this trend will continue into the holiday season.”
- For an Unprecedented Holiday Shopping Season, Retailers and Consumers Find Themselves Mostly Aligned – Square
- Survey Finds 85% Of Consumers Will Shop In Physical Stores For Holiday Gifts – Engine Insights
- 2020 Holiday Spending Insights Report: Shoppers are looking for convenience and protection from COVID-19 – NMI
- Thanksgiving weekend spending trends – ICSC
- Holiday spending slows but reveals positive outlook for post-pandemic retail – Capgemini
- Sensormatic Solutions Releases Black Friday Results From Shopper Insights Traffic Analytics – Sensormatic Solutions/Business Wire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: How concerned should retailers be about drops in store traffic this holiday season? Do you think the reported 49 percent decline in Black Friday weekend traffic is being extended across the holiday season as a whole?