Holiday shoppers went online-but not all of them

Sale items on display at Macy's
Sale items on display at Macy's in downtown Chicago Nov. 17. (Zhu Zhu/MEDILL)

By Zhu Zhu

With the ease of online shopping, there was no surprise that online sales, up 13.2 percent in December from the year-ago month, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, lifted total December retail sales by 4.3 percent.

Passersby interviewed in downtown Chicago illustrate why.

Brian Sherrill, who spent about $350 on shopping in the holiday season, only $50 to $75 of it in-store, said, “It is easy for me to shop online. I can stay at home and do it, rather than waiting in the long line in the store.”

Cynthia Witherspoon, who spent about $1,500 in the holiday season, 60 percent of it online, said, “It’s convenient that it can take things to your home.”

With more consumers choosing to shop online, Macy’s Inc. announced Jan. 4 that it would close 63 stores and Sears Holdings Corp. said that 150 of its locations, including 108 Kmarts, will go dark.

However, some people still chose to shop more in-store than online because they wanted to make sure of what they bought.

Anand Parthasarathy, a father who spent $500 to $600 for his new-born baby, half of it in-store, said, “Usually I spent 80 percent online and 20 percent in store. This year was more like half and half because I need to make sure that everything is the best for my baby. I had to go in stores to make sure that everything is perfect.”

Photo at top: Sale items on display at Macy’s in downtown Chicago Nov. 17. (Zhu Zhu/MEDILL)
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