The onset of the pandemic set off a huge move towards eCommerce, since that’s all that was available for a huge chunk of time in 2020 and some of 2021. That’s led to some fascinating and innovative new forays into online shopping experiences. Even so, brick-and-mortar is far from dead, and some are doing intriguing, nontraditional things — everything from VR to NFTs to the metaverse — with their online and in-store retail presences.
That’s the takeaway from “,” a CES 2022 panel on Thursday that took place live and in-person in Las Vegas and was also streamed on the event’s streaming portal. It began with a presentation by NPD Group Chief Commercial Officer Tim Bush, who was clear about one thing: “Brick and mortar is not dead.”
Bush listed several reasons why: Stores have “raised their digital game,” while instituting such omnichannel practices as buying online and picking up in-store (BOPIS). This has especially become the case as eCommerce shipping dates are currently less reliable, and even some digital , such as Amazon, have been opening physical stores.
Overall retail sales, despite some ups and downs in recent years, finished 2021 in a strong position, Bush said, with general merchandise sales jumping 16 percent, the week of Christmas, over the same period in 2020, and 33 percent from the same weekend in the pre-pandemic Christmas week in 2019.
As for brick-and-mortar stores specifically, per The NPD Group, the 13-week holiday season average of $6.2 billion a week in 2021 beat the total of $5.6 billion in the 2019 season. Bush added that the “cadence of dollar spend” was very different in 2021 than in most years, in part due to the timing of the arrival of stimulus checks and child tax credit payments.