Online shopping on a tear … but don’t rule out stores

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Despite the acceleration of online shopping, which is up 7% over last year in the wake of the pandemic, consumers will do almost 40% of their holiday shopping in stores.

Shopping via desktop or laptop is up 7% this holiday, as a wide swath of the population now works remotely in the wake of the pandemic. As work and home blend in previously unprecedented ways, an always-on laptop makes online shopping easier than ever.

Most consumers expressed concerns about the pandemic: 65% told us it would affect their in-store shopping behavior. Nevertheless, an intrepid minority (13%) plans to do all their shopping in stores. Intrigued, we dug a little deeper. And here’s what we found:

They are 55 or older. Despite being concerned about the pandemic, they are likely sufficiently reassured by safety protocols retailers have in place.

They look forward to visiting many stores.
Those planning to do all their shopping in stores plan to visit more stores at close to double the rate of consumers overall (20% v 13%).

Contactless payment is not for them.
They are half as likely (21%) as consumers overall (39%) to use contactless payment.

Meanwhile, 21% of consumers will shop online only this holiday. The dominant factor for this group is concern about COVID-19.

While home delivery remains the favored option for online orders, curbside pickup has soared in popularity, increasing 12% this year. The benefits are evident: Consumers get their items sooner, avoid shipping costs and minimize health risks by staying in their vehicles.

Our analysis suggests that even as some shoppers shop in stores this holiday while many swing by to pick up their items, delivery vans will be ubiquitous, wending their way through city, suburban and rural communities to deliver holiday gifts bought online.

Contact us

Tyson Cornell

Consumer Markets Industry Leader, PwC US

Allison Stone

Consumer Markets, PwC US

Krystin Weseman

Senior Analyst, US Retail and Consumer, PwC US

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