NEW YORK (AP) – Americans are going back to one of their favorite pastimes: store shopping.
With more people getting vaccinated and dropping their face masks, retailers from Walmart to Macy’s are seeing an eager return to their stores after more than a year of their customers migrating online during the pandemic.
Marcia Williams, who lives in a Philadelphia suburb and who stuck to online shopping only during the height of COVID-19, went back to her local mall right after she was fully vaccinated last month. It was her first time in more than a year hitting the mall.
The return to in-store shopping is a big relief in part because fewer shoppers ask for their money back after making a purchase at the store – 8% compared with 25% for online, according to Forrester Research.
Further, store customers tend to do more impulse buying. For clothing, for instance, 25% of purchases are done on a whim versus 16% online, says market research firm NPD Group Inc.
Many retailers like Macy’s are still recovering from the pandemic, which forced them to temporarily close early last year, driving more traffic to big box stores that were allowed to stay open. Store traffic, while rebounding, is still not back to where it was in 2019.