Ninety-nine percent of consumers have shopped in a physical store in the past 12 months, a new survey from real estate firm Coldwell Banker Commercial Affiliates found. Ninety-two percent of those surveyed plan to shop in-store for gifts this holiday season.
Fifty-one percent of respondents prefer online shopping for holiday gifts while 44% prefer physical stores. The survey of more than 2,000 U.S. adults was conducted by The Harris Poll.
Half of respondents said they'd give up a lower product price online in exchange for personalized assistance or advice from an in-store associate. Preferred categories for in-store shopping included major appliances, clothing and accessories, health and beauty products, and home decor.
Young millennials and Gen Z shoppers are a major area of opportunity for retailers with brick-and-mortar locations this holiday season.
Coldwell Banker Commercial found that the demographic aged 18-34 is most likely to go to stores "to kill time" than other demographics; 35% said they do this compared to 20% or less in all other age groups. Those same Gen Z and millennial consumers are more likely to go to stores to spend time with family and friends (33%) than older respondents. A survey released in July by Shopkick found that 55% of Gen Z respondents plan to do their holiday shopping in physical stores. As the purchasing power of these younger shoppers grows, there's room for retailers to foster face-to-face loyalty.
Overall, shoppers still seem to be attached to the in-store experience. Sixty-eight percent of Coldwell Banker's respondents said they "look for in-store experiences" when they shop in a physical store. Another recent survey from the International Council of Shopping Centers reported that 90% of holiday shoppers expect to buy in-store and 97% will buy online from retailers that have physical stores. Retailers with a strong omnichannel presence can make the most of shoppers' reliance on a mix of online and in-person shopping. Those with a robust mobile shopping experience may have a leg up, as many in-store shoppers turn to their mobile devices to research products before buying.
Those "in-store experiences" from retailers are worth watching this holiday season as the line between online and in-store shopping continues to blur, especially with the rise of services like BOPIS. Macy's announced it will host a new fragrance bar and a "create your own" jewelry program in stores this year. Meanwhile, Walmart announced it will offer checkout options with roaming employees, along with personalized gift recommendations and a scannable toy catalog.