If JLL Retail’s survey of consumers proves to be an accurate gauge, the kickoff of this year’s holiday shopping season will be one for the books. More than one-third of consumers said they plan on starting their shopping before Thanksgiving this year, while another 28.6% of shoppers plan to do their shopping over Thanksgiving weekend.
Fewer shoppers—16.9%, down from 18.3% in 2017—are waiting until just two weeks before Christmas to start their shopping. Overall, JLL is projecting holiday sales growth of at least 4.5% to 5% compared to last year, and possibly more.
“While statistical modeling suggests an increase of up to 5%, I believe we are in uncharted territories from a consumer strength perspective and, as such, believe we could see holiday sales push upwards of 6% this year,” said Greg Maloney, CEO of JLL Retail.
Retailers with a physical presence will see a 57.3% share of shopping traffic this year, whether consumers are shopping directly in-store (31.7%), buying online and then picking up their purchase in the store (15.2%), or buying directly from the retailer’s website (10.4%).
Just over half of survey respondents (50.3%) said they’ll make at least one purchase from their phones. That’s a big jump from last year, when only 22.2% indicated they planned to do so.
Shoppers also indicated that they would use mobile devices to find deals and discounts (39.1%), product reviews (34.5%), get inspiration for gifts (30.0%), and check physical store inventory (21.9%) before heading to the store.
Gen X shoppers are more likely to use their phones to make online orders compared to other age groups, including Millennials. Boomers are the most likely to check product reviews on their phones prior to purchase.
“This year, shoppers are visiting both digital and physical outlets, which reflects the continued merging of shopping channels that has been happening in retail over the past few years,” said Maloney. “The role of the retail store and shopping center will continue to transform from a transactional-only model to an immersive and experiential one.“
That being said, “value remains king,” according to JLL’s report on the survey results. “Mass merchandisers like Target and Walmart, and off-price retailers like Marshalls and HomeGoods remain strong performers. Retailers and centers that proactively offer experiences that shoppers are looking for or value that consumers need will win.”
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