Popping Up for the Holidays: E-tailers Are Making the Leap Offline for Seasonal Shoppers

It’s a short holiday season this year, with fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas than usual. With the cramped shopping season, a trip to the store is feeling pretty harried and rushed for Millennials, who are also often more comfortable buying gifts from behind a screen than then getting stampeded in a store. Cyber Monday was a huge success, following a lackluster Black Friday—perhaps further solidifying the power of the online shopper. But still, shopping offline is a part of Millennials' holiday behavior—and they still plan to get out there with their shopping bags in hand. When we asked 14-29-year-olds where they planned to do the majority of their holiday shopping, 59% told us they would be shopping mostly in-store. As a generation that truly lives with one foot in the digital world and one foot out, it’s not too surprising that they plan to buy gifts that way as well, despite cries by some that they are spending all their time clicking on shopping carts instead of pushing them. Perhaps to match up with Millennials' online/offline mentalities, several online-only stores are bridging the gap into the offline shopper’s world, and bringing their wares to city sidewalks (busy sidewalks, dressed in holiday style) for the season. Here are a handful of the usually online-only brands that are (somewhat surprisingly) setting up temporary shop IRL (in real life):  

1. Amazon Sells Kindles in SF

Though Amazon is a major player in the online shopping world during the holidays—a full 91% of 14-29-year-old Millennials who planned to shop online said they would be buying gifts on Amazon— it seems dominating the shopping lists on the internet wasn’t enough this year. The massive e-tailer set up a series of pop-up shops in malls throughout San Francisco to sell their Kindle…


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"I play [games] constantly until 4 in the morning. When I’m not on my game I’m checking my phone. And the whole time I’m doing all of that my desktop is on the internet.”—Male, 22, OH

Twitch is airing every episode of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, in celebration of the late Fred Rogers’ 90th birthday and the show’s 50th anniversary. The esports streaming service is expanding to nostalgia entertainment (which young viewers can’t get enough of), but they have a unique twist. The show will be available for co-viewing, with popular Twitch streamers chiming in from time to time. (Mashable)

Over one-third of 18-34-year-olds have stopped using a brand after hearing negative news about them, more than any other generation. Among the brands that most consumers said they gave up on were Wells Fargo, Target, Papa John’s, and Uber. However, Critical Mix and kNOW also found that young consumers are more willing to forgive a brand for bad press: While only 30% of consumers overall would use a brand again after a scandal, 41% of 25-34-year-olds would. (MediaPost)

Alamo Drafthouse is bringing back VHS—offering free rentals for Millennials that wax nostalgic for analog products. Their first store, Video Vortex, is opening in North Carolina. Not only are they “fostering a movie-loving community” with the extensive gratis collection of 75,000 titles, but they’re making money off of the added “beer, food, and merchandise.” No VHS player? No problem. They’re renting those as well. (BoingBoingEW)

Researchers were surprised to find Gen Z students were “relieved” to ditch their smartphones for a few weeks. Screen Education’s study of 62 12-16-year-olds found that 92% thought “it was beneficial” to disconnect from their smartphones while they were at camp. And even though 41% admitted they felt frustrated at times, 35% were able to cut down their use after camp and 17% convinced a friend to curb their time spent on smartphones, too. (PR Newswire)

Beauty brands love augmented reality, but an app can’t replace in-store experience. Not only did Ypulse found time and again that young consumers expect Experiencification and flock to marketing activations (like pop-ups), but brick-and-mortar locations build loyalty. People think they’re scamming Sephora when they re-do their makeup gratis, but that time-spent-in-store is really “turning the ‘scammers’ into buyers.” (Quartzy)

"I love my smart phone. It is just like my best friend [and] I just can't do without my smartphone...”—Male, 27, CA

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