As the holiday shopping season comes to a close, it is clear that shoppers chose the Internet over a trip to the mall. Sales at brick & mortar stores fell 6.7% over the most recent weekend, while traffic declined 10.4%, according to RetailNext, which collects data through analytics software it provides to retailers. That is worse than the 5.8% decline in sales and the 8.0% drop in traffic recorded for November 1-December 14, 2015.
This follows a report from ShopperTrak, the leading global provider of consumer behavior insights. ShopperTrak recently provided its updated sales estimate for brick & mortar retail on the Black Friday weekend of November 26-29. The four dates accumulated a projected $20.43 billion in total sales, down an estimated 10.4% from a year ago.
Even last-minute shoppers like Katherine Koepsell, a lawyer who lives in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, were shopping online instead of in brick & mortar stores. On Sunday, Ms. Koepsell realized she needed a few more gifts, so without leaving her bed she reached for her smart phone and ordered “Toy Story” stickers and Olaf-themed gloves from Amazon.com. With Amazon Prime and its $99 annual membership, members can get free two-day shipping as late as December 22 and still receive items on December 24, one day before Christmas.
“I can’t wrap my head around having to pile the whole family in the car and then fight the crowds with the stroller. And what if the store doesn’t have what you are looking for?” Ms. Koepsell said of making a trip to the mall.