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Deloitte: Consumers to Frequent Online Retailers the Most for Holiday Purchases

As consumers gear up for the holiday season, the Internet continues to be the most popular shopping destination for presents.

According to the “2016 Deloitte Holiday Survey,” all retailers can expect a rise in web traffic this year as more people plan to shop e-commerce sites for gifts than ever before and consumers anticipate spending just as much online as they do in stores.

Online retailers remain top of the list, with 50 percent of those surveyed planning to shop online for gifts, beating discount department stores (43 percent), which ranked second place for holiday shopping. E-commerce is also where people will spend 47 percent of their holiday budgets, matching their planned in-store spending for the first time. Only 59 percent of respondents said they are planning to visit “big box” retail stores in 2016, compared to 63 percent last year.

Consumers are also taking advantage of online and in-store channels this holiday season. Sixty-six percent of consumers said they will “webroom,” which is looking for items online before making in-store purchases. Meanwhile, half of consumers will engage in “showrooming,” which involves comparing prices between physical stores and e-tailers for items and buying the items online for less.

In terms of omnichannel services, 43 percent of consumers plan to utilize “buy online, pick up in store” features for their holiday presents. With a growing affinity for digital holiday shopping, the survey also found that more than half of smartphone users (56 percent) will use their mobile devices to buy gifts. M-commerce transactions are also increasing this holiday season, with 43 percent of consumers planning on making gift purchases on their smartphones, up from 35 percent in 2015.

Overall, consumers plan on spending an average of $998 on holidays this year and predict that they will spend an average of $426 on gifts and gift cards. Furthermore, consumers are spending more on non-gift holiday purchases this year, with miscellaneous holiday purchases totaling $572 in this year’s survey.

“The way people shop online is having a profound impact on holiday spending this year,” said Rod Sides, vice chairman of Deloitte LLP and U.S. retail, wholesale and distribution practice leader. “If retailers treat online and in-store shopping as mutually reinforcing rather than competitive forces, they can create more opportunities across the business.”