Holiday Season Retail: Shoppers Will Make Up for Lost Time

by John Reva

JLL recently surveyed U.S. consumers to find out how they intended to shop for the holiday season … and the news is good for the retail sector.

Shoppers plan to spend 25.4% more this holiday season than in 2020. That’s a rise from an average $694 per person last year to an average $870 per person this year — getting us back to almost pre-pandemic levels.

Phoenix’s comparatively lighter COVID restrictions already had helped push our market further along the recovery trajectory than some other major metros. As we approach the holidays, the local retail sector can look forward to an additional boost, as 58% of shoppers plan to visit stores or conduct some form of shopping that involves a physical store. That includes 34% who plan to buy online but pick up in store, and 22.6% who will use curbside pick-up.

The top five retailers on shoppers’ list this year: Amazon, Walmart, Target, Macy’s and Kohl’s.

Pent-up demand has also accelerated “revenge shopping” — where consumers make up for lost time with increased spending and “self-gifts” that they buy for themselves along with the gifts they buy for others. According to our report, more than 70% of shoppers plan to self-gift this year, particularly with shoes and clothing that they need to support a return to the workplace.

Still, a top priority for holiday shoppers is saving money. Buyers will be paying close attention to the affordability of the goods they’re purchasing at mass merchandisers, online and in department stores. 

JLL’s one caution: inventory. With the supply chain still facing pandemic-related challenges, there is an increased chance of inventory shortages and shipping delays — especially for the roughly 4% of survey responders who said they would wait until the week before Christmas to begin their shopping. The best way for shoppers to shop for success: start early! And this may be a phenomenon for retailers to keep in mind. 

John Reva is vice president at JLL.

Did You Know: To cope with inventory shortages, 58% of retailers plan to raise prices; one-third plan to increase prices by 40% or more; 53% of small business owners anticipate inventory shortages through the 2021 holiday shopping season.

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