May 10, 2021

Gallup: 72 Percent of Americans to visit real stores for holiday shopping

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From Newsmax

A recent Gallup survey shows that while a majority of Americans will shop online for holiday gifts, traditional brick-and-mortar stores are far from dead.

Sixty-five percent of U.S. adults say they are likely to shop online for Christmas gifts this year, up 12 percentage points from four years ago and continuing steady growth in this form of shopping over the past two decades, Gallup reported.

Still, more Americans, 72 percent, say they are likely to shop at department stores this year, more than any of the other four shopping options tested in the survey, Gallup said.

Since 2013, Americans’ intention to shop at discount stores has declined by seven points to 65 percent, and it is now tied with online shopping, Gallup said.

Meanwhile, shopping by the two least-used means (at specialty stores and via mail order catalogs) has held steady. Slightly more than half (54 percent) currently indicate they will shop at specialty stores, defined as those that sell only one type of item, such as toys, clothes or jewelry. A smaller 22 percent say they plan to shop by mail order catalog.

Longer term, intentions to Christmas shop online have grown, from 10 percent indicating they were “very” or “somewhat” likely to do so in 1998 to 65 percent today. As online shopping intentions have increased 55 points over the past 20 years, intentions to shop in other ways all have decreased between 11 and 15 points.

Although online still trails department stores in the overall percentage of Americans saying they are at least somewhat likely to do their holiday shopping there, more Americans now say they are very likely to shop online for Christmas gifts (48 percent) than say they are very likely to shop at department stores (35 percent).

This indicates a greater probability that Americans will follow through on their intentions to shop online than to shop at department stores, Gallup said.

However, the holiday season is always a pressure cooker for retailers, but this year promises to be more stressful than usual.

With foot traffic dwindling and more consumers shopping online, brick-and-mortar chains are having to fight harder for customers. Many U.S. retailers also are laboring under a mountain of debt, turning the season into a high-stakes fight for survival, Bloomberg reported.

More retailers are at risk of running out of cash or defaulting on debt now than at the peak of the last recession, according to Moody’s Investors Service, and subpar holiday sales could deepen their distress.

To be sure, wide-open credit markets have kept a lot of overleveraged retailers chugging along with even more borrowed money.

But time is running out for several well-known names at the local mall, some of which may not be around next holiday season — at least not in their present form or in the hands of their current owners.

Bloomberg said that J. Crew, Claire’s and Bon-Ton could face liquidity stress.

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