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Press Release

Strong Holiday Shopping Season Fuels Optimism for 2018

January 9, 2018

Physical stores and shopping centers were the biggest winners this holiday season 


NEW YORK, January 9, 2018 – This past holiday season saw an increase in consumer spending, according to ICSC, which released its annual Post-Holiday Shopping Survey today. This year’s survey showed that the average spend on gifts and other holiday-related items was $841.50 this season, up from $711 last year.

“Overall, 2017 was a strong year economically, with consumers spending and visiting their local centers,” said Tom McGee, President and CEO of ICSC. “We know consumers are going where the experiences are, and this holiday season, shopping centers met those needs.”

Retailers benefited from the longer season, with almost 30 percent of consumers beginning their shopping in October or earlier and more than half (51 percent) completing their shopping the week before Christmas.  In fact, 10 percent of those surveyed finished their shopping on Super Saturday, showing that the shopping season runs right through the final holiday weekend.

Consumers used a variety of channels for holiday shopping, with 90 percent making purchases in a physical store, 40 percent using click-and-collect, and 46 percent ordering online from retailers with a physical presence and then having the merchandise shipped home. Of those who used click-and-collect, 90 percent bought additional items once they were in the store.  Sixty-two percent of holiday shoppers ordered from pure-play online retailers.

The most popular gifts this season were similar to last year’s top items. Gift cards led the way (68 percent, versus 63 percent in 2016), with apparel/footwear a close second (48 percent, versus 50 percent in 2016), and toys and games (37 percent, versus 44 percent in 2016) rounding out the top three.

Consumers also demonstrated a preference for where they shopped this year, with 66 percent doing so at discount stores such as Target or Walmart, followed by 47 percent who shopped at traditional department stores like Macy’s or Nordstrom. The third-most-frequented store category for the holiday season was supermarkets or wholesale clubs, at which 34 percent of respondents made a purchase.  

Shoppers cited the ability to see, touch, browse and try on items (44 percent), to take advantage of deals/promotions (36 percent) and to get items immediately (34 percent) as the primary reasons for shopping in store.  Consumers also continued to integrate mobile in their in-store shopping experience, with 53 percent using devices to compare prices, 37 percent checking for inventory/ product availability and 36 percent looking for discounts or coupons.  

“Overall, the 2017 holiday season was a big win for retailers,” said McGee. “As we begin 2018, both shopping centers and their tenants need to continue to innovate and deliver the products, experiences and services that consumers expect.”

The ICSC Post-Holiday Survey was conducted online by Opinion Research Corp. on behalf of ICSC, on Jan. 2–3, 2018. The survey is a demographically representative sample of 1,011 U.S. adults 18 years of age or older.

ICSC serves the global retail real estate industry. We provide our 70,000-plus member network in over 100 countries with invaluable resources, connections and industry insights, and we actively work together to shape public policy. For more about ICSC, visit www.icsc.com

Stephanie Cegielski