Online Shopping to Equal Stores’ This Holiday Season: Deloitte

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U.S. consumers plan to spend equal amounts online and in brick-and-mortar stores this coming holiday season, the first time that online spending is forecast to match real-world spending, according to a report from consulting firm Deloitte.

The report is based on responses from more than 5,000 U.S. consumers to an online survey conducted by an independent research company.

Deloitte vice-chairman and head of its retail practice said:

The way people shop online is having a profound impact on holiday spending this year. Retailers must cater to that digital mindset long before someone walks into a store. If retailers treat online and in-store shopping as mutually reinforcing rather than competitive forces, they can create more opportunities across the business. Customer expectations are being shaped as much by the digital experience as the in-store experience. As a result, retailers should map digital features that matter to the consumer to their brand.

Here are some highlights from the report:

  • Half (50 percent) of survey respondents plan to shop online for gifts, giving the Internet a bigger lead than ever over discount/value department stores (43 percent), which rank as the No. 2 destination for gift shopping.
  • This rise in web traffic could bring retailers more cheer from their e-commerce sales. Survey respondents anticipate they’ll spend 47 percent of their budget online – matching what they plan to spend at physical stores for the first time. In prior years, people planned to spend more in the stores.
  • Fewer people surveyed plan to visit standalone “big box” retail stores, dropping from 63 percent to 59 percent this year; traditional malls fell slightly from 53 percent to 50 percent, and independent stores not in a mall dropped four percentage points to 38 percent.
  • Holiday shoppers plan to purchase an average of 14 gifts this year, on par with 2015, and will spend an average of $426 on gifts and gift cards.
  • After four years of rising non-gift spending intentions, respondents are starting to rein in the amount they plan to put toward these categories. Holiday travel and dining out, entertaining, non-gift clothing for themselves or families, home/holiday furnishings and decorations, and other miscellaneous holiday purchases total $572 in this year’s survey.

Overall, people surveyed plan to spend an average of $998 on the holidays this year. Despite the ubiquity of the current presidential race, most shoppers (73%) say they do not think the election will affect their holiday spending.

Deloitte’s full report is available at the website.