“It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” or so the Muzak piped into the mall speaker system declares as holiday shoppers scramble to complete gift lists on time and under budget. The holiday season fills some of us with stress, while others actually enjoy the season.

When it comes to retail, companies are literally banking on customers enjoying the shopping holiday in stores. From the hiring of extra staff to the traditional elaborate window displays, retailers spend in hopes to make a profit from the holiday shoppers.

What gets the holiday shopper excited about the gift-buying season, and how can stores improve the experience?


Short answer? Move your focus to online sales. Among people who shop in stores before the holidays, 43% of people who responded say they don’t like anything about holiday shopping in stores.

These shoppers are more likely be men between 35-54 and they are half as likely to use Snapchat and are less likely to follow trends on social media. This is counterintuitive to my thinking–I believed that perhaps younger shoppers engaged in social media would opt out of in-person shopping.

Based on other holiday research, we’re seeing that many consumers are skipping stores for online shopping.

On the plus side, 22% responded that their favorite element of holiday shopping is the music, decorations and displays.

These shoppers are more likely to be women who are heavy social media users. Given their proclivity to social media and technology, stores might want to adopt holiday decorations that create interactive and innovative experiences that encourage spending.

These improvements might help draw those who don’t enjoy shopping in stores back into malls. But, retailers will also have to consider how much today’s shoppers dislike an essential element of retail: people.


The top three responses of in-store holiday shoppers pertain to the fear of negative interactions with other customers. Insights into these reactions reveal that people are only part of the problem when it comes to shopping in stores.

Those who responded “Crowds” are more likely to compare prices before buying and visit stores, but purchase items online. It seems that not only the crowds but also getting the best deal keep this group from shopping in stores.

Offering price matching might entice these shoppers to purchase in store.

Younger women addicted to their digital devices are more likely to respond “lines.”

Stores are already experimenting with checkout by phone, and developing this technology might keep these shoppers interested in retail.

While shoppers might not like much when it comes to holiday shopping, they’re still doing it.

Check out our recent posts on Black Friday spending and gift spending progress for 2016.