Online Holiday Shopping to Be Nearly 50% of Sales

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The desperate situation of retailers is about to become worse. Holiday shoppers intend to spend 47% of their money online, according to a new survey.

E-commerce has only been in full swing for about a decade, ushered in by broadband and the genius of Jeff Bezos of Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN). What was a tiny portion of the sector has completely changed it, and for the huge majority for the worse.

According to the new Deloitte 2016 Holiday Survey:

According to this year’s holiday survey, consumers are more likely to shop online than they are to visit popular brick and mortar locations such as discount/value stores and traditional department stores. While the Internet has been a top shopping destination for years, this season it runs away as the venue of choice. Whether they plan to skip the crowds at their local stores on Black Friday still needs to be seen, but our research reveals that half of consumers intend to shop for holiday gifts online this holiday season.

Online shoppers are not just browsing either. In fact, consumers polled in our survey plan to spend just as much online as they do in physical stores (47 percent), another milestone in our holiday survey history. Just two years ago, store spending was 12 percentage points ahead of online purchasing.

Online holiday shopping is likely to take some share from popular store formats both big and small. Fewer people plan to visit standalone “big box” retail stores. This number dropped from 63 percent to 59 percent this year. The number of consumers who plan to visit traditional malls this year fell slightly from 53 percent to 50 percent. Shoppers who plan to visit independent stores that are not in a mall dropped four percentage points to 38 percent.

If the forecast is correct, Amazon’s holiday sales will grow in the double digits again, and Target Corp. (NYSE: TGT) and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (NYSE: WMT) will be badly crippled.