by Christopher Blomquist

Many consumers are looking forward to in-person holiday shopping again this year according to a just released study by The NPD Group.

A recent survey conducted by NPD asked U.S. consumers about the Yuletide traditions they missed most last year that they hoped to return to in 2021. More than one-third of consumers (36 percent) said they missed browsing retail store aisles, 30 percent look forward to shopping in malls again, and 30 percent want to again participate in the Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping whirl. Viewing holiday displays, windows, and decorations was noted by 21 percent of respondents, while photos or visits with Santa were important to 15 percent.

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, brick-and-mortar stores are 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,” says Marshal Cohen, 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.”