NRF: 78% Of Consumers Shop In Stores As Often As Last Year

Although the news of the “retail apocalypse,” poor store sales and bankruptcies has dominated today’s headlines, consumers are still flocking to stores — and retailers should take this as a great sign. As many as 78% of consumers are shopping in stores either about the same or more than they were a year ago, according to a survey from the National Retail Federation (NRF). 

At a roundtable discussion at, three industry thought leaders shared the findings from the inaugural Fall 2017 NRF Consumer View survey:

  • Mark Mathews, VP of Research Development and Industry Analysis at NRF;

  • Katherine Cullen, Director of Retail and Consumer Insights at NRF; and


  • Greg Buzek, President of IHL Group.


Younger generations — particularly Millennials and Gen Z — are leading this charge to visit stores more often. Roughly half (49%) of Millennials/Gen Zers surveyed said they’re shopping in stores more often than they were a year ago, compared to just 28% of the average consumer. The top reasons these demographics visit these stores more often include:

  • A new retail store or shopping center opened near them (52%);

  • Entertainment or food options (49%); and

  • Buy online/pickup in-store capabilities (45%).

In-store shoppers are buying with intent: 74% of consumers say they typically visit the store to buy something specific rather than to browse. This impacts the types of services and experiences retailers are offering — from providing more convenient ways to check out, to making it easier for shoppers to find what they’re looking for.

“We’re seeing that a lot of research-type activities that happen earlier in the customer path-to-purchase are shifting online and onto mobile,” Cullen said during the discussion. “When customers are coming to the store, they’re further along in their decision-making process. They’re coming in the door armed with information, they know their options, they often know where they can find the best price and they know where else they can buy it.”

But the younger shoppers are more likely to view the store as an opportunity to explore: 48% of Gen Zers and 35% of Millennials say they typically visit the store just to browse.

“The key to retail as it continues to evolve will be understanding where the store falls on your customers’ purchasing journey and being able to adapt and give them the experience they need,” Cullen said.

Online Shoppers Are More Likely To Seek Shared Values, Show Brand Loyalty

While only 21% of shoppers make more than half of their purchases online, 48% of those shoppers always research a brand’s values. Also, 45% of them say they would stop shopping their favorite brand if it contradicted their values.

Online shoppers are more loyal to brands and retailers and are 2X to 3X more likely to perceive themselves as such. Up to 49% of online shoppers say they’re loyal to grocers, compared to only 31% of in-store shoppers.

Online shoppers also consider themselves loyal to:

  • Personal care and beauty (44% compared to 26% of in-store shoppers);

  • Clothing and accessories (41%; 19%);

  • Consumer electronics (40%; 19%);

  • Home improvement items or tools (37%; 13%); and

  • Home décor or home furnishings (36%; 10%).

Featured Event

Join the retail community as we come together for three days of strategic sessions, meaningful off-site networking events and interactive learning experiences.



Access The Media Kit


Access Our Editorial Calendar

If you are downloading this on behalf of a client, please provide the company name and website information below: