December 14, 2015
By: Amber Schiada, VP & Director of Research, JLL
’Tis the season for media reports predicting the end of brick and mortar retail stores.
Some reports regarding recent Black Friday sales estimates have attempted to explain a drop in estimated total bricks-and-mortar sales as evidence of a wholesale move of shoppers from physical to online stores. Such conclusions are hasty and erroneous. The truth is much more nuanced, and represents a gradual shift in shopper behavior.
We have seen a slow drop in emphasis on Black Friday commerce in favor of shopping later in the holiday season. But, from the consumer perspective there is really only one type of ‘commerce’ – shoppers will simply prefer the most convenient channels. To be effective this holiday season retailers need well-coordinated and integrated sales efforts with both physical and virtual components to create a sense of identity for a retail property, embedding it in the heart of a community.
Brick and mortar still driving sales
Consider this data: Brick and mortar still drives national retail sales with 93% of purchases made in physical stores, and 7% online – it’s not exactly the end of retail as we know it. Shoppers are still more likely to stand in line than shop online.
It will take the Commerce Department up to a month to release complete information on retail sales for the 2015 holiday period. Current releases of estimates are based on small samples and do not tell the full story. What we do know about Black Friday and Thanksgiving is that the retail space is changing, and online channels are increasing in importance not just for sales, but also for browsing (online window shopping using Windows) and order-online-pick-up-in-store. We continue to expect call a three percent overall growth in holiday sales, with the vast majority of those transactions occurring in bricks-and-mortar locations.
To read more research about retail in the U.S. vist www.jllretail.com/research.