Shoppers will avoid retailers without contactless payments this holiday season

Shoppers now have greater expectations when it comes to in-store shopping experiences – so brands should prepare themselves for a change in spending habits

Even though the end of of the pandemic is difficult to predict, consumers are still planning their holiday shopping – but their in-store shopping habits are changing.

NMI launched its 2020 Holiday Spending Insights Report, based on an analysis of 1,000 consumers and 300 merchants in the US in October 2020. The report looks at attitudes toward various in-store payment methods and shoppers' COVID safety concerns this holiday season.

The report showed that consumers plan to shop for gifts in-store at brick-and-mortar locations. Almost one in three (29%) of consumers polled plan to primarily shop in-store and two in five (40%) plan to shop both in-store and online.

Two out of five (43%) of consumers actively avoid shopping with retailers that do not offer contactless payments and nearly a quarter (23%) of businesses reported that they have lost a sale due to their lack of contactless payment options.

Nearly 30% of consumers feel uncomfortable using cash to make purchases right now and over half (53%) of consumers use contactless payments often when shopping in-store during COVID-19

Contactless payments, including tap-to-pay cards and mobile wallets like Apple Pay and Google Pay, offer a high level of both convenience and hygiene — making them essential since the start of the pandemic.

Over half (53%) of consumers polled said that they use contactless payments "very often'' or "often" when shopping in-store during COVID-19.

Customers' most common in-store payment methods are swipe (38%) and chip-based (39%) credit/debit cards. Almost one in three (30%) of retailers would prefer if their customers' most common in-store payment method was contactless this holiday shopping season

Almost four in five (78%) of retailers currently accept contactless payment methods, and 57% of merchants have invested in contactless payment technology since March 2020

US consumers are planning to turn out to shop this holiday season, and they have optimistic spending plans. Almost two in three (62%) of consumers polled plan to spend at least the same amount as they did in 2019, and 30% plan to spend more than they did in 2019.

Both hygiene and convenience will be key players this holiday spending season — and consumers have come to expect both since the start of the pandemic.

Contactless payments cover both needs for the consumer, and with their use among savvy shoppers on the rise, continued adoption by retailers could be the key to in-store success now and in 2021.