Blended Retail Will Be the Hallmark of Holiday 2018

It looks like shoppers and retailers have taken down the old boundary between bricks-and-mortar retail and e-commerce.

About 60 percent of consumers plan to shop online and in physical stores, according to The NPD Group, a market research company in Port Washington, N.Y., which recently released a survey about holiday shopping. This is an increase of 3 percent over last year’s survey.

“The traditional division between online and in-store retailing continues to shift and blur,” said Marshal Cohen, NPD’s chief industry adviser. “Traditional-store retailers are upping their online games these days while they are also finding ways to drive traffic to stores with improved efficiency, more-entertaining shopping experiences and better value. Online retailers are also finding ways to blur the retail divide in their own ways, offering lower prices and shipping options that get products to consumers faster than ever.”

Those responding to the survey revealed where they would shop. About 70 percent of consumers anticipate shopping at online-only retailers such as Amazon. About 45 percent will shop in the physical shops of mass merchants and discount stores. Twenty-four percent said they will shop at national chains, and about 23 percent said they will shop at department stores.

Online-shopping intent has risen 4 percent over last year and 6 percent over 2016. The average online shopper expects to spend $748 this holiday season, roughly 50 percent more than the $492 bricks-and-mortar-only counterparts were planning to spend.

The NPD Group conducted the survey online in September and crunched numbers from 3,605 respondents.

The upcoming holiday season is forecast to be strong. The National Retail Federation predicted holiday sales would increase to 4.8 percent over last year’s 4.3 percent. Total sales for the season could reach $720.89 billion compared with $687.87 billion last year.