Press Release

Sensormatic Solutions by Johnson Controls survey shows more in-store shopping expected this holiday season

October 12, 2021


  • 47% of U.S. consumers plan to shop in-store this holiday season, up 8% from winter 2020
  • 44% of U.S. consumers say they’ll use curbside pickup for their holiday shopping, up 12%
  • Half of U.S. consumers will start their holiday shopping before November

group of friends including one male and three females resting in retail shopping mall decorated for holidays, holding wrapped gifts and shopping bags

NEUHAUSEN, Switzerland—October 12, 2021—Sensormatic Solutions, the leading global retail solutions portfolio of Johnson Controls, released its second annual North American Holiday Consumer Sentiment Survey, which found more shoppers are planning to shop in-store compared with the 2020 holiday season, even as the level of concern around in-store shopping is nearly the same.

The survey showed 47% of consumers still plan to shop in-store this holiday season, an 8% increase from holiday 2020. The latest results show that concerns have risen since the recent 2021 back-to-school season underscoring the continued importance for retailers to implement forward-looking, data-centric technologies that enable precision retail that can help predict consumer behavior.

“We expect more contactless checkouts and unified commerce services like buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) and curbside pickup this holiday season because health and safety is paramount,” said Kim Melvin, global leader of marketing, Sensormatic Solutions. “This holiday season it’s more important than ever for retailers to adopt intelligent technology that allows them to leverage data from across the enterprise to meet consumers’ expectation of personalized, comfortable, seamless retail experiences both in-store and online.”

Holiday Doorbusters, Unified Commerce and Enclosed Malls Grow in Popularity

Although 63% of U.S. consumers are concerned or very concerned about shopping in-store, this isn’t stopping them from taking advantage of annual deal days, leveraging unified commerce services or shopping at enclosed malls:

  • 50% of U.S. consumers indicate they still plan to shop in-store on Black Friday weekend this year, compared to 36% who said they shopped in-store last year
  • 42% say they’ll use BOPIS for their holiday shopping, a 9% increase from 2020, and 44% say they’ll use curbside pickup, a 12% increase from 2020
  • 55% plan to shop at enclosed malls in 2021, compared to 29% in 2020

Nearly half (45%) of U.S. consumers said store occupancy limits preventing overcrowding would make them feel more confident shopping in-store this holiday season. Forty-two percent of consumers surveyed said extended opening hours to prevent overcrowding would help them feel more confident, and 38% said temperature checks taken on entry to the store would also add a level of comfort for in-store shopping.

U.S. Holiday Shopping Will Start Earlier

Half of U.S. consumers (50%) indicate they will start their holiday shopping before November, compared to 43% in winter 2020. Over three quarters (81%) indicate they will start shopping before December, compared to 74% in 2020. This shift aligns with Sensormatic Solutions findings with its annual list of the top busiest shopper traffic days for the 2021 holiday season.

When consumers were asked what factors would influence their decision to start their holiday shopping:

  • 49% said timing of promotions and holidays
  • 46% said concern over shipping delays
  • 43% said finances/budget

“As consumers shift their shopping earlier into the season, the typical holiday traffic peaks will flatten, with more days sharing importance throughout the season,” said Brian Field, senior director of global retail consulting, Sensormatic Solutions. “We also expect to see the return of weekday shopping, a trend that started last year as more consumers made the most of flexible remote work schedules to shop during days and times that were perceived to be less busy or crowded in-store. Retailers can better prepare by deploying technology to understand expected shopper patterns and implement in-store strategies to service their customers.”

Key Differences for U.S. and Canadian Consumers

Sensormatic Solutions also surveyed consumers in Canada to understand differences in shopping behavior compared to U.S. consumers. Key differences include:

  • Canadian consumers are more likely to delay their holiday shopping, with only 36% planning to start their shopping before November
  • Canadian consumers are less likely to use unified commerce services, with only 28% planning to use BOPIS or curbside pick up for their holiday shopping
  • Only 14% of Canadian consumers said they were “very concerned” about shopping in-store this holiday season, compared to 31% of U.S. consumers

Sensormatic Solutions and its intelligent operating platform for retail, Sensormatic IQ, is a vital component of Johnson Controls OpenBlue technologies and innovations which promotes healthy people, healthy places and healthy planet. Sensormatic Solutions is helping retailers solve complex challenges related to consumer confidence, health and safety as part of its mission.

To learn more about Sensormatic Solutions holiday season predictions, please visit Key Trends Shaping U.S. Retail This Holiday Season.

For more Sensormatic Solutions holiday insights, follow along on LinkedIn and Twitter, using #SensormaticHolidays2021.

Survey Methodology

Sensormatic Solutions collected responses from 1,000 U.S.-based consumers and 1,000 Canada-based consumers, 18-years and older, via a third-party provider to determine findings of its 2021 North America Holiday Consumer Sentiment Survey. The survey was conducted at the height of the COVID-19 delta variant surge between August 18 - August 23, 2021.

About Johnson Controls

At Johnson Controls (NYSE:JCI) we transform the environments where people live, work, learn and play. As the global leader in smart, healthy and sustainable buildings, our mission is to reimagine the performance of buildings to serve people, places and the planet.

With a history of more than 135 years of innovation, Johnson Controls delivers the blueprint of the future for industries such as healthcare, schools, data centers, airports, stadiums, manufacturing and beyond through its comprehensive digital offering OpenBlue. With a global team of 100,000 experts in more than 150 countries, Johnson Controls offers the world's largest portfolio of building technology, software as well as service solutions with some of the most trusted names in the industry. For more information, visit or follow us @johnsoncontrols on Twitter.

About Sensormatic Solutions

Sensormatic Solutions is the leading global retail solutions portfolio of Johnson Controls powering operational excellence at scale and enabling smart and connected shopper engagement. Our intelligent digital operating platform – Sensormatic IQ – combines the full Sensormatic Solutions portfolio, including unmatched insights into retail inventory, shopper behavior, and loss prevention and liability, and Retailer and third-party solutions with advanced technologies, like AI and Machine Learning. This enables retailers to act on prescriptive, data-driven outcomes and confidently move into the future. Our retail portfolio features the premier Sensormatic, ShopperTrak and TrueVUE brands. Please visit Sensormatic Solutions or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and our YouTube channel.


© 2021 Johnson Controls.  All Rights Reserved. SENSORMATIC, SHOPPERTRAK, TRUEVUE and the product names listed above are trademarks and/or registered trademarks. Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited.


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