Millennials are notably less likely to do their holiday shopping in stores, while Democrats and higher education levels are more likely to do most of their holiday shopping online. Gen Zers planning to do holiday shopping predominantly online this year are significantly more likely to cite safety concerns as the top reason for doing so (65 percent vs. 48 percent all adults).

Ruralites appear least preoccupied with safety this holiday season: They are more eager than other community types to do most of their holiday shopping in-store and, among those planning to shop primarily online, are less likely to cite safety concerns as the reason why. As might be expected, pandemic-induced adoption of online shopping is the top reason behind ruralites’ stronger preference for doing their holiday shopping online. 

Unsurprisingly, online marketplaces saw the greatest uptick in interest year-over-year: Americans plan to lean heavily on online marketplaces like Amazon for holiday shopping in 2020 (78 percent).

Meanwhile, in-store shopping should expect dramatic drops. Thirty-five percent of consumers said they will be shopping less at malls this year, unsurprising considering 59 percent of Americans indicate they’re uncomfortable going to a shopping mall this holiday season. While nearly two-thirds (64 percent) said they’re likely to shop in-store this year, that category experienced the second second-largest drop in interest year-on-year with 33 percent of Americans anticipating shopping in-store less. 

Department stores may face a tough season as well, though perhaps less devastating than some pundits have suggested. Thirty-five percent plan to shop at department stores this year, and 30 percent said they will shop at these less than last year. But Americans are largely split as to whether they’re comfortable or uncomfortable going to department stores (48 percent vs. 52 percent, respectively) and 63 percent said they’ll shop at these about as much as they did in 2019.