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Strong Holiday Shopping Season Fuels Optimism for 2018
New York Ag Connection - 01/11/2018

This holiday season saw an increase in consumer spending according to the International Council of Shopping Centers (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, compared to $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% of consumers beginning their shopping in October or earlier and more than half (51%) of consumers completing their shopping the week before Christmas. In fact, 10% of those surveyed finished their shopping on Super Saturday, showing the shopping season runs right through the final holiday weekend.

Consumers used a variety of channels for holiday shopping, with 90% making purchases in a physical store, 40% using click and collect and 46% ordering online from retailers with a physical presence and shipping the product home. Of those who used click and collect, 90% bought additional items once in stores. 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% compared to 63% in 2016), with apparel/footwear (48% compared to 50% in 2016) a close second, and toys and games (37% compared to 44% in 2016) rounding out the top three.

Consumers also demonstrated a preference of where they shopped this year, with 66% doing so at discount stores such as Target or Walmart, followed by 47% 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 where 34% of respondents made a purchase.

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

"Overall, the 2017 holiday season was a big win for retailers," continued 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.."

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