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Holiday Spending Up, Surpassing Expectations


Last updated on January 5th, 2017 at 10:42 am

The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) this week released its Post-Holiday Shopping Survey, finding that consumers spent an average of $711 on gifts and other holiday-related items this holiday season. This represents a 16 percent increase over 2015’s post-holiday survey results ($611) and is 4 percent ($27) above holiday shoppers’ intentions as measured in ICSC’s Holiday Shopping Intentions Survey in October.

“Consumer confidence continued to improve into December and we saw this optimism reflected in the holiday spending numbers,” said Tom McGee, president and CEO of ICSC. “The strong holiday shopping season suggests a positive environment for retail sales overall.”

In total, consumers spent an average of $897 on gifts and related items, dining, movies and other entertainment experiences at malls and shopping centers this holiday season. Gen X spent the most, averaging $1,000, followed by Baby Boomers ($875) and Millennials ($867). Experiences accounted for 20 percent of total consumer holiday expenditure, with Millennials topping this spending category at $220.

More than half (51 percent) of all holiday shoppers waited until the days leading up to Christmas to complete their shopping, reinforcing the need for retailers to keep pace with technology as it continues to change purchasing habits and give consumers more options. Nearly 70 percent of total holiday-related expenditures occurred in stores with both a physical and an online presence. Further, the physical store proved paramount to the shopping experience again this year, with 91 percent of holiday shoppers spending at physical stores, the same percentage as 2015.

“The convergence of physical and digital continues to be important as consumers have come to expect an integrated experience allowing them to buy products through a variety of channels,” added McGee. “The survey data proves that omni-channel retailers are the real winners this season as they offer purchasing options that satisfy the shopping behaviors of all generations.”

Of those who bought items online from a retailer with a physical store and picked up in-store, 61 percent made an additional purchase in-person (75 percent of Millennials). In fact, 81 percent of Millennials visited a shopping center this holiday season, more than any other generation, including Baby Boomers (62 percent) and Gen X (73 percent). And while Millennials rely on technology and mobile as part of the shopping experience, either research or purchasing, 77 percent said it is important to buy online from stores that have a physical presence.

Millennials use technology to enhance, not replace, the physical shopping experience

Eighty-six percent of Millennials used a mobile device while shopping in stores and 96 percent made a purchase from those retailers. Of those who used a device while shopping in a store:

• 52 percent compared prices;

• 40 percent checked availability/inventory;

• 37 percent got digital discounts or coupons; and

• 33 percent read reviews/ratings.

Omni-channel retailers see the most success

When shopping online for holiday gifts and related items, consumers routinely opt to shop with retailers that have a physical location.

• 69 percent of total expenditure was with stores with a physical presence (in-store and online);

• 48 percent of total expenditure was online (pureplay and omni-channel retailers);

• 25 percent of total expenditure was with pureplay online only retailers (Amazon and all others); and

• 23 percent of total expenditure was online with retailers with a physical presence (shipped home and/or click-and-collect).

Shoppers take advantage of shopping center experiences

While 70 percent of adults visited a mall/shopping center this holiday season, they did more than purchase gifts. Of those people:

• 73 percent shopped;

• 45 percent dined at a restaurant or other eating establishment; and

• 26 percent saw a movie.

Gift cards remain a key holiday shopping item

• 63 percent of holiday shoppers purchased gift cards;

• 50 percent of holiday shoppers purchased apparel and footwear; and

• 44 percent of holiday shoppers purchased toys and games.

The ICSC Post-Holiday Consumer Shopping Survey was conducted online by ORC International on behalf of ICSC from Dec. 27-28. The survey represents a demographically representative U.S. sample of 1,030 adults age 18 and older.

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Featured Photo PLMA Annual Private Label Trade Show
Donald E. Stephens Convention Center
Chicago, Illinois
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