More people plan to shop in-store this year. Here’s why

PULLMAN, Wash. — Have you made your list and checked it twice? 

New research shows more holiday shopping will be done in local stores this year. Supply chain issues and even the pandemic are impacting what people buy and where. 

A new report from the Washington State University Carson College of Business shows more shoppers will be visiting storefronts and are making it a priority to shop local. 

Simply Northwest, a shop that boasts locally-made products, is decked out in Christmas joy and has been since October. 

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“People just want to come and it makes them happy to here,” said owner Denielle Wattermire-Stuhlmiller. “Just a kind of joy of shopping in-store and touching and seeing everything.” 

Shoppers throughout Spokane are noticing it, too, including Angela Davis. She spent time looking for crystals at Wonders of the World. 

“I guess people got over their fear, their isolation, and they just want to be in store,” Davis said. “And it gives you the holiday spirit when you’re in-store instead of online shopping at home.” 

The data also backs it up. WSU researchers surveyed more than 1,700 people in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. 

“A surprising key finding that we saw this year is really the breakdown kind of generationally with the excitement over the return to the holiday shopping season, in-store shopping, specifically with the millennial generation,” said Eric Hollenback, WSU Research Communications Manager. 

Hollenback said it is partly because people are worried about supply chain issues. 

“There are products available locally in stores and I think shoppers are seeing that as that’s the solution for items to not be delivered online,” Hollenback said. 

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Simply Northwest is no exception to supply chain woes.

“Even our huckleberry licorice, one of our best sellers, we cannot get anymore until after Christmas. Our soft caramels, that even just come from Montana, can’t get any more of those until after Christmas,” said Wattermire-Stuhlmiller. 

But Wattermire-Stuhlmiller said that has not stopped shoppers who are feeling the holiday spirit. 

“We have an amazing community and customers, and yeah, just more kindness, happiness, seems to be happening,” she said. 

Safety is another factor in whether or not shoppers will be heading in-store. That varies by region. 

People in Seattle are more likely to buy if the company is following social distancing protocols, while that is less of a priority for people in Spokane. 

Click here to read the full report. 

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