The International Council Of Shopping Centers (ICSC) found holiday sales jumped 5.2 percent year-over-year, falling short of its forecast amid an intensely promotional climate. The gains were led by a 13 percent jump in food and beverage sales.

The organization had forecast growth of 6.7 percent between October and December.

In an ICSC survey*, it found 43 percent of U.S. consumers indicated that low prices or good promotions were key motivating factors in where they shopped, significantly ahead of 33 percent in 2021.

In related findings, 53 percent of holiday shoppers reported spending “significantly more time this year looking for deals and promotions than in the past,” with 38 percent of those polled citing higher prices as the cause. The survey also found 64 percent of respondents preferred retailers’ efforts “to offer promotions throughout the season as opposed to limiting them to traditional ‘deal days’ like Black Friday.”

“It’s clear that persistent inflation and economic concerns are shaping shopper behaviors, but there are signs of resilience across the marketplaces industry,” stated Tom McGee, president and CEO, ICSC, in a statement. “Consumers continued to embrace in-store shopping and took advantage of deals and promotions throughout the season. The holiday season will be an important springboard for retailers as we head into 2023.”

Other highlights from the survey include:

  • Higher prices were the number one challenge consumers faced this shopping season (40 percent), ahead of crowded stores (33 percent) and products being unavailable (30 percent). Fifty-three percent of shoppers spent more than last year, identifying higher prices as the number one factor behind the increase.
  • Seventy-two percent of surveyed consumers said rising interest rates impacted their shopping behaviors, leading them to cut back on spending (42 percent), use cash more than usual (35 percent) and use debit cards instead of credit cards (33 percent).
  • Shoppers spent $574 on gifts in 2022. Overall, 89 percent of consumers, 230 million, bought gifts in the 2022 holiday season.
  • Seventy-four percent of holiday consumers visited a shopping center, up from 70 percent in 2021. Thirty-nine percent of total spending was in-store, up from 34 percent in 2021 and 33 percent in 2020.
  • Gift cards (59 percent), apparel and footwear (55 percent) and toys and games (50 percent) were the most popular categories for shoppers during the 2022 holiday season.

*The ICSC post-holiday 2022 survey was conducted from January 4-6, 2023, with a demographically representative U.S. sample of 1,010 respondents.