NASHVILLE, Tenn (WTVF) – There is no question that COVID has changed many of our habits. A new study suggests one of our vacation habits is returning to pre-pandemic levels. It’s all about how we shop this holiday season.
“Because this house is over 100 years old, it takes you back a little bit,” said Carmelita Stafford, co-owner of Sister’s WhimZy in Mt. Juliet.
“Just the warmth of the walls in here, the original floor, the original windows create an ambience that you don’t get everywhere.”
“If there’s any stuff left over the last week of Christmas, most husbands will come by and snag them,” she smiled, walking past a stand of purses. “We have Loveless Cafe products here. You have to eat your cookies, right?”
Like so many other companies, 2020 hurts.
“It was very unexpected,” Stafford continued. “The closure has dealt us a serious blow. However, we also realized that we needed to expand our online presence to reach our customers. There was no better time for this than COVID. We’re grateful, grateful that we’re still here.”
Now Sister’s WhimZy is experiencing something nationwide. Market research firm NPD Group says in its 2022 projections that 46% of shoppers are expected to do most of their Christmas shopping in stores, while 45% will do most of their shopping online. It may be a small difference, but the NPD Group says it’s the first time since the start of the pandemic that in-store Christmas sales are expected to outpace online shopping.
These projections also show that 80% of shoppers plan to do at least some of their shopping online this year, up from 85% last year. 44% of shoppers are expected to purchase in person from bulk retailers, compared to 42% last year.
“We saw more people besides our regular Mt. Juliet guests that probably wouldn’t have come last year or the year before,” Stafford said. “Before COVID, online shopping was such a convenience for people. However, when it was mandatory because the shops were closed, you were suddenly forced to do it. I think a lot of customers, myself included, really missed being able to walk in instead of waiting for the box to come out and hoping the contents aren’t broken.”