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Press Release

91 Percent of Holiday Shoppers Made Purchases in a Physical Store Accordin

January 11, 2016

NEW YORK, January 11, 2016 – The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) released its Holiday Consumer Purchasing Trends study today, providing insight into shopping behavior during the 2015 holiday season. Physical stores drove sales with 91 percent of consumers choosing brick and mortar retailers this season. The strength in brick and mortar is largely due to the technological advancements on the part of retailers and the savviness of consumers.

“Looking back at the holiday season, the major trend that emerged is the prevalence of the omni-channel consumer and the resulting convergence among brick and mortar and digital retail,” said Tom McGee, president and CEO of ICSC. “The story of bricks vs. clicks is an old one. The story is now one of a shopper getting the best of both worlds, using online research and capabilities to inform physical purchases. The American consumer has sent a clear message that the physical store remains at the epicenter of the shopping experience.”

Additional Findings from the ICSC Holiday Consumer Purchasing Trends Study:

Holiday Shoppers Spent More; Vast Majority Visited a Physical Store, Citing Touching Merchandise and Convenience as Key Benefits

  • Consumers continued to show resiliency this season, as 40 percent of shoppers say they spent more this season than in 2014, with 33 percent spending the same this season. Only 23 percent said they spent less than last year.
  • 198 million American adults made holiday purchases at a physical store this holiday season (Nov. 1 – Dec. 25).
  • Seeing, touching, and trying on merchandise was cited the number one reason to shop in store (32%), followed by the ability to browse (26%), and the ability to get the item right away (24%).
  • Shoppers also embrace the ease of returning and exchanging products in store, with 20 percent of shoppers electing to shop in-store because of this advantage.

A Savvier Consumer Uses Mobile and Click and Collect; Boosting In-Store Sales

  • Sixty percent of holiday shoppers used their mobile device while shopping in-store to do such things as compare prices, check availability and view reviews/ratings.
  • Fifty-six percent of holiday shoppers researched products before they even entered the store, noting they arrived better informed and ready to purchase.
  • Nearly one-third (32%) of holiday shoppers used the click and collect method –with 69 percent of these shoppers purchasing additional items in the store of collection and 36 percent making an another purchase in an adjacent store. 

Gift Cards, Apparel, and Electronics Leading Gift Categories this Holiday Season 

  • On average, 62 percent of holiday shoppers spent on gift cards, with an average spend of $145. Fifty percent of all consumers received a gift card this season. Of those that received a gift card, February or later (43%) is the most likely time for them to redeem it, followed by January (39%) and the last week of December (18%).
  • Forty-eight percent of holiday shoppers made a purchase in the apparel/footwear and electronics/devices categories this holiday season.

About the ICSC Holiday Consumer Purchasing Trends Study


The 2015 ICSC Holiday Consumer Purchasing Trends Study was conducted online by Opinion Research Corporation on behalf of ICSC from December 28-30, 2015. The survey represents a demographically representative U.S. sample of 1,014 adults 18 years of age and older.


About ICSC

Founded in 1957, ICSC is the global trade association of the shopping center industry. Its more than 70,000 members in over 100 countries include shopping center owners, developers, managers, investors, retailers, brokers, academics, and public officials. The shopping center industry is essential to economic development and opportunity. They are a significant job creator, driver of GDP, and critical revenue source for the communities they serve through the generation of sales taxes and the payment of property taxes. These taxes fund important municipal services like firefighters, police officers, school services, and infrastructure like roadways and parks. Shopping centers aren’t only fiscal engines however; they are integral to the social fabric of their communities by providing a central place to congregate with friends and family, discuss community matters, and participate in and encourage philanthropic endeavors. For more information about ICSC visit www.icsc.com and for the latest news from ICSC and the industry go to www.thecenterofshopping.com.

Jesse Tron

Vice President, Communications