Sep 26, 2018
Holiday shopping survey results may surprise you

Natural Insight, a leading provider of a cloud-based advanced retail execution and workforce management platform, today released the findings of its annual “In-Store Holiday Shopping” survey. With the goal of getting an updated view into how consumers shop in-store during the holiday season, the survey, commissioned by Natural Insight, shows an increase in consumers planning to shop in-store and earlier in the season, as half of consumers intend to do the majority of their holiday shopping in November.

Physical retail is alive and well. More Americans want to shop in-store compared to 2017

Contrary to popular belief, shoppers are not abandoning brick-and-mortar to shop online exclusively. Although consumers do relish the convenience and vast inventory available via online shopping, they still crave the tactile experience of the retail store. In fact, the survey results showed that a majority of consumers intend to shop in-store this holiday season. Because of this, retailers must cater to all demographics as they prepare for the busiest season of the year.

  • 88 percent of consumers intend to shop in stores this holiday season.
  • Consistent with 2017 survey results, 88 percent of women intend to shop in-store, while 85 percent of men intend to shop in-store – a 6 percentage point increase from last year.
  • Additionally, younger generations are more likely to make a trip to the brick-and-mortar store for their holiday shopping this year, with 88 percent of 18-29 years olds reporting that they will shop in stores this holiday season – an 8 percentage point increasefrom 2017.
  • 92 percent of 30-44 years olds report they plan to shop in-store this season – a 6 percentage point increase from last year.

Shoppers plan to shop earlier this season 

In a departure from last year, more consumers plan to do their holiday shopping in November, rather than in early December. Although a high number of survey respondents selected Black Friday as a bad shopping experience, half of November shoppers plan to do their holiday shopping during this infamous, one-day shopping event. Due to this, retailers need to prepare and intensify their efforts well before the Thanksgiving and Black Friday holidays.

  • 47 percent of holiday shopping will happen before December – in a 10 percentage point increase from 2017 survey results.
  • In fact, in a 5 percentage point increase from last year, 20 percent of November shoppers intend to do their holiday shopping on Black Friday.
  • Specifically, 51 percent of people shopping for the holiday season on Black Friday will be between 18 and 29 years old.
  • Additionally, more men will head to the store earlier than in 2017, with 46 percent of men intending to complete the majority of their holiday shopping before December, versus only 35 percent last year.

Men will be the big spenders this holiday season

The survey also shows that men are expected to spend more money while shopping in-store this holiday shopping season. Retailers and brands catering to a male audience for the holiday season should intensify their efforts from early November to early December.

  • 54 percent of shoppers expect to spend less than $250 in stores this year.
  • Overall, men will spend more than women, with 19 percent of men planning to spend more than $500, while only 12 percent of women plan to spend more than $500.
  • 57 percent of women and 50 percent of men plan to spend less than $250 in stores this holiday season.

Holiday shopping bliss: shoppers look for inspiration when shopping

For some shoppers, holiday shopping is a treat. Reasons to shop in-store tend to revolve more around the experience than around merely buying a product. Similar to non-holiday shopping, consumers’ most common reason to shop in stores is to be able to see and touch the product; however, customers also reference other reasons to shop in-store such as getting gift ideas and enjoying the holiday atmosphere.

  • 36 percent of women report that holiday shopping is something they enjoy doing.
  • 55 percent of people reported that one of the main reasons they go shopping in stores is to be able to browse and find new gift ideas.
  • 33 percent of survey respondents between 18-29 years old reported that holiday shopping is a social activity that they enjoy with family or friends.
  • Additionally, 30 percent of survey respondents selected decorations and the holiday shopping atmosphere as one of the main reasons they take a trip to the store instead of shopping online.

Holiday shopping nightmare: consumers confront holiday stress

While there are aspects of holiday shopping that most customers enjoy, the survey results found that for many consumers shopping is the number one cause of stress during the holiday season. Retailers need to deliver the improved customer service and shopping experience that today’s shoppers expect to attract foot traffic this year.

  • 25 percent of respondents report that shopping is their top stress over the holidays.
  • Of the 25 percent, 65 percent of respondents cited crowds as one of the main causes of stress when shopping for the holidays.
  • Whereas, 49 percent of respondents report that not finding a gift that fits within their budget is one of their top three causes of stress.

“The survey results highlight the significance of providing an exceptional in-store experience to drive foot traffic and sales this holiday shopping season,” said Stefan Midford, CEO and president of Natural Insight. “Today’s consumers exist in a world that moves at an unparalleled pace and retailers need to embrace changing consumer needs and be prepared for early holiday shoppers to remain competitive.”

To discover more findings from the survey and learn practical tips to improve operations and customer experience for retailers, download the full report at:

Survey Methodology Sponsored by Natural Insight, the “In-Store Holiday Shopping” survey was conducted by Survey Monkey and Survey Monkey Audiences, an online survey tool specializing in online quantitative research and polling, between August 21-22, 2018. Feedback was obtained from more than 1,200 consumers across the United States.

About Natural Insight Founded in 2003, Natural Insight provides a cloud-based advanced retail execution and workforce management platform for consumer brands, retailers and merchandising and marketing agencies. With Natural Insight, all players across the retail ecosystem are empowered to improve in-store experience, grow sales, increase ROI of distributed workforce and capture and report on field data to power continuous improvement. Natural Insight is headquartered in Sterling, Va., with multiple international offices. To learn more about Natural Insight, visit and follow on Twitter @naturalinsight.

Social Connections

Gift Shop Plus Summer 2024
Get one year of Gift Shop Plus in both print and digital editions for just $16.

Interested in reading the print edition of Gift Shop Plus?

Subscribe Today »

website development by deyo designs