Brick and Mortar Shopping is Not Dead Yet

Jun 2, 2022Articles

The convenience of making purchases online during the pandemic could have easily wiped out the desire for shoppers to get in their cars and actually visit a physical location. But as the restrictions from the pandemic slow down it turns out that Americans are anxious to escape their dwellings and head to the malls and shopping centers.

One reason could be cabin fever, but data suggests consumers are seeking a balance between online and in-person shopping. After U.S. online retail sales grew to 15.7% in 2020, the share dropped to 12.9% by the end of 2021 according to Census Bureau data. Meanwhile sales at brick-and-mortar stores rose to 11.2%.

Although foot traffic at shopping centers is still down from levels prior to the pandemic, it has shown some signs of improvement. Monthly visits to the top indoor malls grew nearly 17% in March from the prior month, while open-air lifestyle centers and outlets grew at a roughly 18% and 26% clip, respectively, according to data-analytics firm Retailers also opened more physical stores in 2021 than they closed for the first time since 2017, according to an analysis of more than 900 chains by research and advisory company IHL Group.

The data indicates that consumers are still determining the right balance between online and physical store shopping. E-commerce companies remain optimistic about the future of their businesses as technology advances to facilitate online transactions. But some executives say even as online captures an increasingly larger share of consumer spending over time, there are still some elements of the in-person experience that will be difficult for digital to duplicate.

Many shoppers still enjoy the social interaction and visual experience that only a physical location can offer. Shoppers are still drawn to the in-person discovery of a brick-and-mortar store. It’s nice to see that American consumers’ desire to seek shopping options was not destroyed by the pandemic. At Shippers Solutions we are a firm believer in offering choices. Both online and physical location shopping will continue to succeed as long as businesses excel in delivering an amazing customer experience and inventory availability.