NPD: Consumers Returning to Stores For Gift-Giving Needs

A new survey reveals a shift in habits that will have more people shopping in person during the holiday season.
Greg Sleter
Associate Publisher/Executive Editor
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Holiday shopping

If you’re writing the obituary for retail stores, you may want to hit the pause button. 

A new survey from The NPD Group revealed that consumers expect to make more of their purchases in-store versus online. Results of the NPD survey revealed that 46% of respondents will be making purchases in-person while 45% said they will go the virtual route.

Of note, checkout receipt-based insights from NPD also support these new findings, as in-store sales revenue grew 1% in September compared to last year, while online sales were flat.

“After more than two years of heavy online shopping, consumers are ready to get back to the sport of shopping,” said Marshal Cohen, chief retail industry advisor for NPD. “Despite saying they plan on scaling back holiday spending this year, sales revenue through October fell 1% below last year’s levels, which shows that shoppers are still willing to spend money on general merchandise, even as prices continue to rise.”

Nearly 80% of consumers still plan to do at least some of their holiday shopping online, but plans to shop pureplay e-commerce retailers declined since last year. Fewer than three-quarters of consumers expect to shop online-only sites during the holidays, down from 79% last year. Among those planning to shop online, 16% anticipate picking up their purchases in stores or curbside, compared to 14% last year, which will increase foot-traffic at brick-and-mortar stores.

As to where consumers will shop, 44% said they plan to visit a mass merchant this year, up 2% from the 2021 NPD survey.

“Impulse and self-gifting are an integral part of the holiday mix, without them, it is hard to achieve growth,” Cohen said. “Success this season depends on the ability of retailers to leverage promotions and exciting products that play to feelings of shopping cheer. Increasing in-store shopping levels will deliver greater benefits to retailers that can entice consumers into buying on impulse, which could help move excess inventory out the door while also giving store bottom-lines a boost.”