One-third (36%) look forward to browsing the decorated aisles for holiday gifts; 15% look forward to visiting Santa at the mall again

Port Washington, N.Y., November 23, 2021 – Online shopping saved the holidays for many last year but consumers are looking forward to the in-person experience again. After the untraditional 2020 holiday season, when most of the country was sheltering at home and many brick-and-mortar stores were shuttered, many consumers hope to get back to more typical activities during the 2021 holiday shopping season, according to The NPD Group.  

A recent survey conducted by NPD asked U.S. consumers about the holiday traditions they missed most last year that they hoped to return to this year. More than one-third of consumers (36%) said they missed browsing retail store aisles, 30% look forward to shopping in malls again, and 30% pine for the Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping frenzy. Viewing creative holiday displays, windows, and decorations was noted by 21% of respondents, while photos or visits with Santa were important to 15%.

The steady, gradual growth of e-commerce was dramatically accelerated by the pandemic last year, elevating the value of shopping online in line with levels of in-store activity. Now, with vaccination rates on the rise and more stores and malls open for business, online sales continue to grow, but they are settling back to more typical, pre-pandemic levels. At the same time, physical stores are proving their worth, regaining a near-pre-pandemic share of the retail sales market.

“The consumer’s general hunger for the experience of shopping in-person, combined with their longing for missed traditions in 2020 will be evident over the holidays,” said Marshal Cohen, chief retail industry advisor for NPD. “As much as the ability to deliver products, retail industry success will be fueled by its ability to deliver the holiday spirit.”



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Janine Marshall

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