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Online Shoppers to Spend More This Holiday Season

Online shoppers are planning on spending more for the holidays.

According to The NPD Group’s 2016 Holiday Purchase Intentions Survey, online shoppers project they will spend an average of $710 this holiday season, which is 60 percent more money than those who plan to only shop in stores ($440).

Overall, 71 percent of consumers are planning to use e-tailers as their main source for holiday shopping instead of brick-and-mortar stores. Broken down by demographic, 79 percent of millennial shoppers and 42 percent of Gen X shoppers plan to do some of their holiday shopping online this year. Consumers predict they will do 38 percent of their holiday shopping digitally in 2016.

“Online continues to change the game for retailers because it goes beyond convenience by bringing value and timing into the equation,” The NPD Group chief industry analyst Marshal Cohen said. “Brick-and-mortar retailers still have the benefit of drawing the majority of holiday shoppers with the in-store experience, but it is clear they are going to have to put their best foot forward in order to maintain a hold on Holiday 2016 and future seasons.”

Online shoppers are buying the same items as in-store shoppers, except online shoppers are using more social media activity to conduct their holiday season purchases. Clothing/accessories, entertainment and toys are the most popular categories for both online and in-store retail. Many consumers are also going online to search for presents; more than 70 percent plan to conduct online research and about 50 percent expect they will check shopper reviews. A quarter of consumers also expect to use social media to find gifts, meanwhile 43 percent of Gen Z shoppers and 38 percent of millennials also anticipate they will use Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for their holiday shopping needs.

M-commerce will also take the reins as another popular channel for holiday shopping. Fourteen percent of U.S. shoppers, including 29 percent of millennials, plan on using smartphones to buy presents this year, which is up more than 130 percent from 2015.

“We are at a point where retail must embrace the online shopping culture, not just try to battle it, especially during the critical holiday shopping season,” Cohen noted. “There are opportunities to be had in the relationship between brick and click – maximizing the emotional component of shopping in-store, while utilizing the convenience and flexibility of shopping online will create a complete shopping experience for the consumer and a happy year-end for retail.”