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Brick and mortar is here to stay

PULLMAN, Wash.– Washington State University’s Carson College of Business found that nearly half of Pacific Northwest consumers do most or all of their shopping in-store, demonstrating the staying power of brick-and-mortar stores in the region.

According to the school’s third annual holiday retail survey, 43% of consumers in the region prefer to do their shopping in-store, while only 17% prefer to shop mostly online — even though most consumers think Cyber Monday is the best day to find great deals.

“Although consumers feel they get a better deal online, the rate they are shopping in stores is remaining steady, supporting the value of brick-and-mortar stores,” said Joan Giese, WSU clinical associate professor of marketing. “We’ve found shoppers often find inspiration for gifts while perusing the aisles and value in-person customer service and the ability to see and feel the products.”

The survey examined more than 1,700 PNW consumers’ perceptions and attitudes toward the holiday shopping season and sought to understand how and where consumers are planning to do their shopping this year.

Key findings include:

  • PNW consumers continue to turn toward Cyber Monday to catch the best deals, while Black Friday continues to lose its allure.
    • 76% of PNW consumers plan to shop on Cyber Monday, while slightly less (56%) plan to shop on Black Friday.
    • 63% agree Black Friday sales and promotions are overwhelming, and 58% agree there are better deals after Black Friday.
    • Sentiment varies across generations however, as only 49% of Baby Boomers think the best deals can be found during Cyber Monday, while 73% of Gen Z are excited for Cyber Monday deals.
  • PNW consumers continue to prioritize spending time with family on Thanksgiving over shopping.
    • Only 26% of consumers are likely to shop on Thanksgiving.
    • 57% of those who plan to shop on Thanksgiving say they will shop online, rather than in-store.
  • The driving factors behind consumer decisions to shop in-store vs. online are propelled by a desire for quality service in-store and better savings online.
    • 68% say they like shopping in-store because they can see and feel products in-person, and 44% find inspiration for gift buying by walking around a store or mall.
    • 81% shop in-store at discount retailers (e.g. Wal-Mart), and 59% shop in-store at home improvement stores (e.g. Lowe’s).
    • 76% shop online at big box stores like Amazon and Zappos, and 60% shop online at discount retailers like Wal-Mart, Target and Best Buy.
  • PNW residents are thrifty and budget-conscious but may splurge more for the holidays.
    • While most PNW consumers shop discount retailers (81%) and thrift stores (42%), the majority (51%) will likely go beyond their budget for holiday gifts.
    • 90% of consumers think you don’t need to spend a lot on holidays, but only 49% have a strict budget.
    • Despite the desire to be thrifty, 54% of PNW shoppers say you can’t put a price on holiday happiness.
  • Although Small Business Saturday receives less attention from consumers, small businesses may benefit from shoppers’ appreciation for the perks of supporting local businesses and a positive in-store experience.
    • 81% of PNW residents say local and small businesses provide better service than big box retailers.
    • But Small Business Saturday lacks awareness on the west side of the state, as 72% of eastern Washington is familiar with Small Business Saturday compared to only 61% of western Washington.
    • Gen Z are least knowledgeable about Small Business Saturday — only 38% are aware, in comparison to 62% of all PNW consumers who are familiar with it.

*View the full report at:

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