Expect the Same In-Store Holiday Rush, Even Amid Omicron
Holiday shopping procrastinators will continue their annual dependence on brick-and-mortar stores to fulfill gift lists, as the omicron variant has not diminished consumers’ comfort with shopping in stores.
Last-minute holiday shoppers, or the 19 percent who are just starting their gift buying in December, plan to do most of their shopping in stores, following seasonal traditions even amid the pandemic. That’s in contrast with early-bird shoppers, who have primarily relied on online shopping for gifts this holiday season.
While early-bird and last-minute holiday shoppers show stark differences in their online and offline store choices, the drivers for those choices are the same: Consumers prefer stores because they prefer to browse in person, and they prefer to shop online for the sake of convenience, not safety. There’s also an income disparity between early and late shoppers: Late shoppers tend to live in households earning less than $50,000 per year, while early shoppers, like most online shoppers, tend to be higher-income.
This Morning Consult poll was conducted over the Dec. 4-5 weekend, prior to Dr. Anthony Fauci’s reassurance that the omicron variant doesn’t pose a greater health risk than the delta variant and news that the Pfizer booster neutralizes omicron. Even then, consumers’ comfort with in-store shopping had not been impacted by the emergence of the omicron variant in the U.S.
Holiday shoppers’ experience with out-of-stock items has held constant throughout the winter gift-buying season, and more December shoppers heading into stores will be welcome news to retailers. Shoppers will be able to choose from available inventory in person without fear of delivery delays, which should alleviate at least some of retailers’ seasonal shipping and customer service headaches.
Claire Tassin is the lead retail & e-commerce analyst on the Industry Intelligence team, where she conducts research, authors analyst notes and advises leaders in the retail & e-commerce industry on how to apply insights to make better business decisions. Before joining Morning Consult, Claire was an analyst at Gartner, where she conducted research on shifting consumer behaviors and expectations, as well as trends and technology relevant to marketing leaders in the retail sector. She graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. For speaking opportunities and booking requests, please email [email protected].