Holiday Spending Up, Surpassing Intentions

Consumers spent 16 percent more on holiday purchases than 2015; omnichannel retailers see the most success

NEW YORK--()--Today, the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) released its Post-Holiday Shopping Survey, finding that consumers spent an average of $711 on gifts and other holiday-related items this holiday season. This represents a 16 percent increase over 2015’s post-holiday survey results ($611) and is four percent ($27) above holiday shoppers’ intentions as measured in ICSC’s Holiday Shopping Intentions Survey in October.

“Consumer confidence continued to improve into December and we saw this optimism reflected in the holiday spending numbers,” said Tom McGee, President and CEO of ICSC. “The strong holiday shopping season suggests a positive environment for retail sales overall.”

In total, consumers spent an average of $897 on gifts and related items, dining, movies and other entertainment experiences at malls and shopping centers this holiday season. Gen X spent the most averaging $1,000, followed by Baby Boomers ($875) and Millennials ($867). Experiences accounted for twenty percent of total consumer holiday expenditure, with Millennials topping this spending category at $220.

More than half (51%) of all holiday shoppers waited until the days leading up to Christmas to complete their shopping, reinforcing the need for retailers to keep pace with technology as it continues to change purchasing habits and give consumers more options. Almost 70 percent of total holiday related expenditures occurred in stores with both a physical and an online presence. Further, the physical store proved paramount to the shopping experience again this year, with 91 percent of holiday shoppers spending at physical stores, the exact same percentage as 2015.

“The convergence of physical and digital continues to be important as consumers have come to expect an integrated experience allowing them to buy products through a variety of channels,” continued Tom McGee. “The survey data proves that omnichannel retailers are the real winners this season as they offer purchasing options that satisfy the shopping behaviors of all generations.”

Of those who bought items online from a retailer with a physical store and picked up in-store, 61 percent made an additional purchase in-person (75 percent of Millennials). In fact, 81 percent of Millennials visited a shopping center this holiday season, more than any other generation, including Baby Boomers (62%) and Gen X (73%). And while Millennials rely on technology and mobile as part of the shopping experience, either research or purchasing, 77 percent said it is important to buy online from stores that have a physical presence.

Millennials Use Technology to Enhance, Not Replace, the Physical Shopping Experience

Eighty-six percent of Millennials used a mobile device while shopping in-stores and 96 percent made a purchase from those retailers. Of those who used a device while shopping in a store:

  • 52% compared prices
  • 40% checked availability/inventory
  • 37% got digital discounts or coupons
  • 33% read reviews/ratings

Omnichannel Retailers See the Most Success

When shopping online for holiday gifts and related items, consumers routinely opt to shop with retailers that have a physical location.

  • 69% of total expenditure was with stores with a physical presence (in-store and online)
  • 48% of total expenditure was online (pureplay and omnichannel retailers)
  • 25% of total expenditure was with pureplay online only retailers (Amazon and all others)
  • 23% of total expenditure was online with retailers with a physical presence (shipped home and/or click-and-collect)

Shoppers Take Advantage of Shopping Center Experiences

While 70 percent of adults visited a mall/shopping center this holiday season, they did more than purchase gifts. Of those people:

  • 73% shopped
  • 45% dined at a restaurant or other eating establishment
  • 26% saw a movie

Gift Cards Remain a Key Holiday Shopping Item

  • 63% of holiday shoppers purchased gift cards
  • 50% of holiday shoppers purchased apparel and footwear
  • 44% of holiday shoppers purchased toys and games


The ICSC Post-Holiday Consumer Shopping Survey was conducted online by Opinion Research Corporation on behalf of ICSC from December 27-28, 2016. The survey represents a demographically representative U.S. sample of 1,030 adults 18 years of age and older.

About ICSC

ICSC serves the global retail real estate industry. We provide our 70,000+ member network in over 100 countries with invaluable resources, connections and industry insights, and actively work together to shape public policy. For more information about ICSC visit


Stephanie Cegielski, 646-728-3572


Stephanie Cegielski, 646-728-3572