InComm's 2019 Holiday Index: Efficient In-Store Shopping is Essential Element of Consumers’ Holiday Experience

Second-annual study reveals consumer attitudes and behavioral trends – from the factors influencing holiday shopping decisions to dealing with unwanted gifts

November 6, 2019

ATLANTA – InComm, a leading payments technology company, today released its 2019 Holiday Index, which for the second year in a row found that in-store shopping will be the most popular retail channel among consumers this holiday season. Based on survey responses from nearly 2,500 U.S. consumers, the report also concluded that gift cards are the top-ranked item on holiday gift lists, with a majority of shoppers planning to supplement these gift cards with additional items to provide a personal touch for recipients.

“This year, we found that consumers value their in-store experiences – in fact, most will make several shopping trips to their favorite brick-and-mortar locations in preparation for the holidays,” said Tammy McGill, Research and Market Insights Manager at InComm. “However, shoppers expect an efficient experience that provides them with holiday gift inspirations, good deals and in-stock products.”

The “Nice and Naughty List” for Retailers

Consumers expect to use in-store shopping to get in the holiday mood. Of our respondents, 31 percent mentioned the festive decorations, displays and sounds of the season as an important part of their holiday shopping experience. Moreover, one-quarter of shoppers anticipate discovering inspiring gift ideas they would not have found online. Shoppers also shared their seasonal pet peeves; topping the list of holiday turn-offs are crowds (42 percent), waiting in line (20 percent), people’s attitudes (12 percent) and out-of-stock items (10 percent).
The takeaway for retailers is that shopping efficiency is the main factor influencing where consumers will shop this holiday season. Almost a quarter of shoppers (24 percent) cited quick and easy shopping as the primary factor influencing their decisions, while 20 percent will focus on doorbusters and deals. Furthermore, 16 percent of respondents care most about free shipping and delivery, and 13 percent were influenced by the in-stock availability of specific products or services.

Gift Cards Pair Best with Supplemental Gifts

Once again, consumers expressed that they prefer pairing a gift card with another item. Gift-givers reported that doing so made the gift card feel more complete (44 percent of respondents) and personalized for the recipient (38 percent). Pairing a gift card with a related or secondary item is an increasingly popular trend among holiday shoppers – one that can lead to incremental sales for savvy retailers that market complementary items (such as greeting cards) alongside their gift card offerings.

Unwrapping Plans for Unwanted Gifts

A new question in this year’s Holiday Index asked what consumers typically do with unwanted gifts, and 29 percent of respondents said they “learn to love” such gifts, while 20 percent said they try to return these items (demonstrating an opportunity for retailers to leverage a streamlined returns process). A surprising 19 percent of consumers said they typically regift unwanted items at a later date.
The InComm 2019 Holiday Index drew on survey responses from 2,476 U.S. consumers regarding their intended gift-giving habits and attitudes for the 2019 holiday shopping season. 

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About InComm

By building more value into every transaction through innovative payment technologies, InComm creates seamless and valuable commerce experiences. InComm’s unique products and services – which range from gift card malls to enhanced payment platforms – connect companies across a wide range of industries including retail, healthcare, tolling & transit, incentives and financial services to an ever-expanding consumer base. With more than 25 years of experience, over 500,000 points of distribution, 386 global patents and a presence in more than 30 countries, InComm leads the payments industry from its headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia. Learn more at



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