NEW YORK: Many US holiday shoppers, wary of entering stores during the latest surge of Covid-19, went from their computers, phones and other devices to their cars before Christmas to make last-minute gift purchases and then drive to the store to pick them up.
Super Saturday is traditionally the busiest day of the year for holiday purchases, and this year online retail has been extra busy. But news reports about high-priority vaccine shipments have many Americans fretting that gift deliveries could be delayed this week.
“The lines have gone from waiting to get inside the store to waiting to get your product brought outside the store,” said Marshal Cohen, chief retail industry adviser at NPD Group. “That’s what you’ll see as the day goes on.”
US retailers are expected to ring in record sales, with over 150 million American shoppers slated to buy holiday gifts online or in-store, up by more than 2m from last year, the National Retail Federation said.
While threats of coronavirus cases spiking in some regions across the country kept shopping foot traffic lower, last minute shoppers still trekked to retail locations to avoid shipping delays.
Elyse R, 31, found herself picking up the facial massage tool she ordered for her sister kerbside at the entrance of Nordstrom’s flagship store in Manhattan yesterday.
“It wasn’t going to arrive in time,” she said, referring to the online gift order. “I popped into another store and now I’m going to go home.”
To meet the demand, the Nordstrom location at the King of Prussia mall converted its men’s shoe department into a buy-online and pick-up in store area, said Bill Park, a partner at Deloitte & Touche LP.
Kerbside business contributed greatly to the traffic at big retail chains including Walmart and Target yesterday, according to three retail analysts making checks in Miami, New York and Chicago.