NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — There’s no question COVID changed a lot of our habits. A new study suggests one of our holiday habits is returning to pre-pandemic levels. It’s all about how we shop in this holiday season.
“Because this house is over 100-years-old, it kinda takes you back a little bit,” said Carmelita Stafford, co-owner of Sister’s WhimZy in Mt. Juliet.
“Just having the warmth of the walls in here, the original floor, the original windows, it’s creating an ambiance you don’t have everywhere.”
“If there’s any items left the last week of Christmas, most husbands will come in and snag em,” she smiled, passing a rack of purses. “We have Loveless Cafe products here. You have to eat your biscuits, right?”
Like so many other businesses, 2020 hurt.
“It was very unexpected,” Stafford continued. “Being forced to close down dealt us a huge blow. However, it also forced us to realize in order to reach our customers, we had to expand our online presence. There was no time better than COVID to do that. We’re grateful, grateful that we’re still here.”
Now, Sister’s WhimZy is experiencing something happening nationally. Market research company the NPD Group says in their 2022 projections, 46% of shoppers are expected to make most of their holiday buys in stores as opposed to 45% making most of their buys online. It may be a small difference, but the NPD Group says it’s the first time in-store holiday shopping has been projected to outpace online shopping since before the start of the pandemic.
These projections also show 80% of shoppers are planning to do at least some of their shopping online this year, down from 85% last year. 44% of shoppers are expected to shop in person at mass merchants, compared to 42% last year.
“We’ve seen more people, besides our regular Mt. Juliet guests, that are coming in that probably last year or the year before wouldn’t have,” said Stafford. “Before COVID, shopping online was such a convenience for people. However, when it was mandatory because stores were closed down, suddenly, you’re forced. I think a lot of customers, myself included, really missed being able to walk in, rather than wait for the cardboard box to come to the door and hope what’s inside isn’t broken.”