Holiday shopping on upswing in Delaware, nation despite COVID-19

Dover Mall welcomes holiday shoppers

By Logan B. Anderson
Posted 12/5/21

DOVER — Crowds observed at the Dover Mall were among nearly 180 million Americans that shopped during the traditional five-day holiday purchasing period from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber …

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Holiday shopping on upswing in Delaware, nation despite COVID-19

Dover Mall welcomes holiday shoppers

Posted

DOVER — Crowds observed at the Dover Mall were among nearly 180 million Americans that shopped during the traditional five-day holiday purchasing period from Thanksgiving Day through Cyber Monday, according to an annual survey released Tuesday by the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.

“It’s too soon to project sales but we’re seeing lots of shopping bags, a busy new Santa set and full parking lots, which is always a good sign and indicator of a busy holiday shopping season,” said Edward C. Zivic, general manager of Dover Mall & Dover Commons.

In total, 179.8 million unique shoppers made in-store and online purchases during the holiday weekend, exceeding NRF’s initial expectations by more than 21 million people. The figure compares with 186.4 million shoppers in 2020 and is in line with the average of the last four years.

The number of people who shopped in stores increased this year, according to NRF’s tabulations.

“Shopping in stores is still the preferred way to shop. People crave connecting in real life, especially considering the pandemic, and find joy in discovering the new and different. Touch, feel, try and buy is the top reason why consumers choose to shop in physical stores versus online. Shoppers also want it now and want it fast so when you shop in-store you are immediately satisfied with your purchase, without having to wait for an online delivery,” Mr. Zivic said.

Nationwide, retailers saw an increase in foot traffic, with about 104.9 million shoppers visiting stores, up from 92.3 million in 2020. The overall number of online shoppers decreased to a total of 127.8 million from 145.4 million last year.

Black Friday remained the most popular day for in-store shopping, with 66.5 million shoppers, followed by 51 million shoppers on Small Business Saturday.

The importance of supporting local businesses was a top reason to shop last weekend for many consumers, with 71 percent indicating they were shopping specifically for Small Business Saturday, according to the NRF.

Like recent years, Black Friday surpassed Cyber Monday in terms of total online shoppers, with 88 million shopping online the Friday after Thanksgiving compared with 77 million on Monday.

“Over the last few years, Black Friday has emerged as a powerhouse day for both in-store and online shopping,” said Phil Rist, Prosper Insights & Analytics executive vice president of strategy. “Even though many consumers are starting their holiday shopping before Thanksgiving, a considerable portion of their purchases are still made over the course of the five-day weekend.”

Thanksgiving weekend shoppers spent an average of $301.27 on holiday-related purchases such as gifts, decorations, clothing and toys. This is down slightly from $311.75 in 2020. As in previous years, most of that amount was spent directly on gifts.

The NRF defines the holiday season as Nov. 1 through Dec. 31 and has forecast that sales will grow between 8.5 percent and 10.5 percent over 2020 to between $843.4 billion and $859 billion.

Dover Mall officials are hopeful that the NRF’s predictions will prove to be true, and add that the holiday shopping experience is also a reason shoppers will spend more this season.

“Dover Mall is more than a place to shop — it’s a space where people spend time together to create lasting memories and share special holiday experiences. We offer our shoppers and their families the best brands, selection and savings at Dover Mall so they can celebrate the holiday season in style,” Mr. Zivic said.

The retail federation surveyed 5,759 adult consumers between Nov. 24 and 29 to reach its conclusions. Their study has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.3 percentage points, NRF officials said.