Online Shopping to Dominate Holiday Season

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At some point, e-commerce could pass brick-and-mortar shopping as the dominant force in holiday shopping. According to one new study, that will happen this year.

A new study from consulting firm Accenture called its 11th Annual Holiday Shopping Survey shows:

[C]onsumers plan to do more than half (54 percent) of their holiday shopping, on average, from the comfort of their home this year rather than in person at the mall or other brick-and-mortar stores (46 percent). Furthermore, half of the survey respondents said that a convenient shopping experience online, including easy check-out and purchase through mobile apps, are positively affecting their holiday spend in 2017.

E-commerce may help holiday sales overall, but at the expense of traditional shopping. The results of the survey also showed that since online discounts happen over the course of the entire year, people are less likely to spend a large portion of their gift budgets during the two months that end on Christmas. This will undermine the rush of shoppers on heavy retail days, particularly Black Friday.

Another nail in the coffin of traditional retail, according to the study, is the importance of gasoline prices for shoppers:

Gasoline prices is the main factor negatively affecting consumers’ holiday shopping spend this year, cited by more than one-third (37 percent) of respondents – double the number who cited that factor last year (19 percent). Rising food prices was cited next-most-often; 31 percent of respondents this year which is up slightly from 28 percent last year.

No one needs gas to shop at Amazon.com or Walmart’s online site, which between them capture a huge number of holiday buyers. Better to use a PC, tablet or smartphone than spend money on gas and waste time looking for parking.