NEW YORK: American shoppers spent an average $711 on gifts and other holiday-related items this holiday season, up a full 16% on 2015, according to a new survey that also underlined the importance of omnichannel retail options.

Based on responses from more than 1,000 US adults, who were polled immediately after Christmas on 27-28 December, the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) also found US holiday shoppers spent 4% more ($27) than suggested in its Holiday Shopping Intentions Survey in October.

In total, consumers spent an average of $897 on gifts and related items, dining, movies and other entertainment experiences at malls and shopping centres this holiday season.

Gen X consumers spent the most on average ($1,000), the survey found, followed by baby boomers ($875) and millennials ($867), while experiences counted for 20% of total consumer holiday spend.

"Consumer confidence continued to improve into December and we saw this optimism reflected in the holiday spending numbers," said Tom McGee, President and CEO of ICSC. "The strong holiday shopping season suggests a positive environment for retail sales overall," he added.

Also of note for brands and retailers, almost 70% of total holiday-related spending occurred in stores that had both a physical and online presence.

Among those who bought items online from a retailer with a physical store and picked up in-store, 61% made an additional purchase in person, including 75% of millennials.

Importantly, more than three-quarters (77%) of millennials said it is important to buy online from stores that have a physical presence, while 86% of this age group used a mobile device while shopping in-store and nearly all of them (96%) made a purchase from those retailers.

In other words, the survey confirmed that millennials use technology to enhance, not replace, the physical shopping experience.

"The convergence of physical and digital continues to be important as consumers have come to expect an integrated experience allowing them to buy products through a variety of channels," continued McGee.

"The survey data proves that omnichannel retailers are the real winners this season as they offer purchasing options that satisfy the shopping behaviours of all generations."

Data sourced from ICSC; additional content by Warc staff