For many people, going shopping isn’t just about looking for deals and trying to match gifts to a list—shopping is also an experience. The basic shopping data in a survey by the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) is a lot like what we’ve seen lately in other holiday shopping surveys: Younger consumers are the most likely to shop in physical stores Thanksgiving Thursday through Cyber Monday, with 25-34 year-olds most likely to shop in a store on Thanksgiving (32%) and Millennials (18-24 year-olds) most likely to shop in stores on Black Friday (63%); in all 41% of consumers plan to head to the stores on Black Friday, 18% of consumers plan to shop in a physical store on Thanksgiving, and 32% of consumers will hit the stores on the following Saturday and/or Sunday.
As you’d expect the number one reason cited by folks planning to shop in a store on Thanksgiving Day is to get a head-start on bargains—51% of those planning to shop on Thursday. However, deals and promotions aren’t the only reason for a Thanksgiving shopping trip—45% of those consumers said it is an opportunity for a fun outing with family and friends. Many shopping center visitors on Thanksgiving Day plan to engage in a special activity—such as a philanthropic effort like a food or clothing drive, an activity such as a movie or ice skating, attending a holiday event such as a tree lighting or concert, getting a picture with Santa or going out to eat. On Thanksgiving Day, 62% of shoppers will also engage in a non-shopping activity, compared to 52% on Saturday or Sunday and just 45% on Black Friday itself. Many of those things don’t have an online equivalent, so the experience requires brick-and-mortar facilities.
The ICSC survey also found that the Monday following the holiday weekend, known in recent years as Cyber Monday, is not just for online shopping. More than one-third (36%) of consumers plan to go to a physical store that day. The shopping center trade group says that highlights the need for physical store presence and the omni-channel experience.