In-store holiday shopping will overtake online shopping for the first time since 2020

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) – There is no doubt that COVID has changed many of our habits. A new study suggests that one of our holiday habits is returning to pre-pandemic levels. It all depends on how we shop this holiday season.

“Because this house is over 100 years old, it takes you back a bit,” said Carmelita Stafford, co-owner of Sister’s WhimZy at Mt. Juliet.
“Just having the warmth of the walls here, the original floor, the original windows, it creates a vibe that you don’t have anywhere.”

“If there are any items left over the last week of Christmas, most husbands will come for them,” she smiles as she passes a purse. “We have Loveless Cafe products here. You have to eat your cookies, don’t you?”

Like so many other businesses, 2020 has hurt.

“It was very unexpected,” Stafford continued. “Being forced to shut down was a blow to us. However, it also forced us to realize that to reach our customers, we needed to expand our online presence. There was no better time than COVID to do this. We’re grateful, grateful that we’re still here.”

Now Sister’s WhimZy is experiencing something happening nationwide. Market research firm NPD Group says in its 2022 projections that 46% of shoppers are expected to do most of their holiday shopping in stores, compared to 45% doing most of their shopping online. It might be a small difference, but the NPD Group says it’s the first time in-store holiday purchases are expected to exceed online purchases since before the pandemic began.

These projections also show that 80% of shoppers plan to do at least some of their shopping online this year, up from 85% last year. 44% of shoppers are expected to shop in person at mass merchants, up from 42% last year.

“We’ve seen more people, in addition to our regular guests from Mt. Juliet, who probably come last year or the year before,” Stafford said. “Before COVID, shopping online was such a convenience for people. However, when it was mandatory because stores were closed, all of a sudden you have to. I think a lot of customers, myself included, really missed being able to get in, rather than waiting for the cardboard box to come to the door and hoping what’s inside isn’t broken.”

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