Holiday Sales To Grow By 6.7%, Shopping Center Group Predicts

Holiday Sales To Grow By 6.7%, Shopping Center Group Predicts

The leading industry association of mall and shopping center owners is cautiously optimistic about the holiday season, after its annual holiday survey showed consumers expect to increase their holiday spending by 6.7% this year.

The ICSC (also known by its original name, the International Council of Shopping Centers) today released the results of its Holiday Shopping Intentions survey.

The survey found that while inflation is a top concern of consumers, shoppers expect to continue spending. The ICSC is forecasting total spending, including dining, of $1.56 trillion for October through December.

Increased costs are a primary reason why consumers expect to spend more this holiday season, but some also said they are planning bigger celebration this year (20%) or extra gift purchases for family and friends (25%).

“Shoppers are continuing to spend despite inflation and economic headwinds, and while higher prices will drive some of the increase in holiday spending this year, overall retailers are poised for a successful holiday season,” Tom McGee, president and CEO of ICSC, said in announcing the survey results.

One particularly hopeful indicator for retail stores, shopping centers, and malls is that consumers are expected to increase the amount of time they spend in stores this year, compared to the past two pandemic years.

“Two years ago, all the talk was people will never go back to in-person shopping because they’ve become so acquainted with online shopping, but we’re seeing that the rate of online shopping has come back down to what it was pre-pandemic, and people are coming back to the stores,” Stephanie Cegielski, vice-president of research and public relations at ICSC said in an interview.

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“I believe they will continue to do that through the holiday season, partly because it’s nice to get out and people enjoy going to the stores and seeing them decorated,” Cegielski said.

Consumers also continue to use the buy online, pick up in-store option in great numbers. “Typically two-thirds of those shoppers do extra shopping while they’re picking up that item, so it’s really beneficial for the retailer,” she said.

Fifty-seven percent of the shoppers surveyed said they plan to pick up items from stores themselves to avoid shipping delays, a 17-point increase compared to the 2021 survey.

The mood of ICSC members is cautiously optimistic heading into the season, Cegielski said. Despite news about inflation, potential recession, and inventory overstocks, “our members are saying people are still going to go out and shop, they’re still going to go out and dine, and they’re very optimistic going into this holiday season,” she said.

The survey found that consumers expect to spend 9.9% more on dining out this holiday season.

Inflation concerns will drive consumers to shop earlier, hunt for deals and promotions, and visit retailers known to have lower prices, according to the survey.

The survey found that 81% of shoppers plan to visit a shopping center during the holiday season. Of those, 51% said they will visit enclosed malls, 56% will visit outlet centers, 46% will visit neighborhood or community shopping centers, and 34% will visit power centers, which typically feature several big box retailers.

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