NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Black Friday for many is the official start to the holiday shopping season, but it isn’t only about shopping apparently, as for 868,000* children it was a chance to visit with Santa at our nation’s malls according to the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). According to ICSC’s Black Friday survey over one-third of consumers plan to also hit the physical stores today (Cyber Monday) and so some may be bringing their children to see Santa as well.
For 55% of those children, just meeting St. Nick was the best part of the experience. For 28% it was getting their picture taken and for just 7% it was getting to deliver their gift wishes. But deliver their wishes they still did – with 77% asking for some type of toy. Electronics checked in at number two at 24%. The most popular gift for girls was Frozen related items and for boys Legos was the most asked for toy. The Apple iPad was the most sought after electronic. Just 2.5% of children went the ambitious route asking for a real pet.
Kids weren’t just asking Santa for presents however – some of the most unusual wishes were for “a trip to New York to see family,” “a baby brother,” “mom’s baby to be a sister,” and for “homeless kids to get presents.”
Of the children surveyed, 96% still believed in Santa, but only one quarter actually prepared a list to bring to their meeting with Kris Kringle.
According to parents, 98% said that their kids would receive at least one item that they asked for and nearly 60% actually admitted to telling their children they would be added to the “naughty list” or “receive coal in their stocking” if they didn’t behave throughout the season.
Almost 70% of parents said they were going to do some of their gift shopping while in the mall – either before or after getting their child’s photo taken with Santa. But what will they do with that photo? For 68% they plan to display it in their home, 37% said they will post it on social media, 35% will send it to family, and 32% will use it for their holiday greeting card.
Over 1,600 families were surveyed at Macerich’s new HGTV-branded Santa HQ – an innovative interactive holiday experience at 10 top malls across the country that elevates the traditional holiday experience and children's Santa visit for the 21st century through digital and social media.
*Source: ICSC Research and Cherry Hill Photo.
Founded in 1957, ICSC is the premier global trade association of the shopping center industry. Its more than 67,000 members in over 100 countries include shopping center owners, developers, managers, marketing specialists, investors, retailers and brokers, as well as academics and public officials. For more information, visit www.icsc.org.