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This Holiday Season, the Internet is the Number One Place to Shop

For the first time in the history of the Deloitte Annual Holiday Survey, the internet came out on top as the place to shop for the holidays.

In prior years, discount / value department stores reigned supreme, but this year they fell 7% to the number two spot.

delloitte holiday 2013

 

Note that shoppers will hit an average of 4.5 different venues before settling in for a long winter’s nap with a total buying power of $421. Last year, the average shopper only spent $386 on holiday gifts.  One word of caution here. This survey was conducted in mid-September so it’s possible – maybe even likely – that the recent government shut down could eat into this rise in spending.

Not only are more people shopping online but 38% say they’ll be doing the majority of their shopping on the web.

delloitte holiday 2013 2

 

Convenience Trumps a Good Deal

76% of the shoppers said the main reason they’re shopping online is because it’s more convenient than going to a brick and mortar store and 63% thought prices were better online.

Having the right products in stock is also the key to the holiday buyer’s heart.  77% of consumers said that if a product is not available on a store’s website, they will go elsewhere, while only 13% would go to that same retailer’s store.  In addition, 45% of all respondents indicate they would switch to an entirely different store chain or website if they can’t find the desired item in a retailer’s store.

Alison Paul, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP says,

“Shoppers put a premium on both their time and the shopping experience.  That shift bodes well for retailers as it suggests shoppers are no longer exclusively price driven.  However, immediacy, service and selection will be paramount this year, and retailers need to offer a seamless, easy to navigate experience between their online, mobile and brick-and-mortar channels.  This season’s winners will use both their stores and distribution centers as virtual warehouses to quickly replenish inventory on hot sellers, shift slow-moving items to other locations, and/or ship an out-of-stock item directly to the customer.”

As always, coupons and free shipping are popular with shoppers and almost half also expect free returns. Four in ten said they’d play the price-matching game with retailers who offer that feature and 35% plan to order online for in-store pickup.

Black Friday Isn’t All That Anymore

Over the past few years, retailers have extended the Black Friday sales concept into the weeks before and after Thanksgiving. Maybe that’s why 45% of the respondents said Black Friday isn’t as important as it used to be. Only 25% said they plan to shop on Black Friday with more than 30% saying they plan to be almost done shopping by early November.

Remember, Thanksgiving is late this year and Hanukkah is early so the whole buying season is askew.

We’ll wrap with one really bright note:

The omnichannel shopper is most likely to make retailers’ spirits bright.  Those who shop a combination of store, Internet and mobile channels plan to spend a total of $1,643 on the holidays, 76% higher than those who shop in the store only.

If you’d like to see all of Deloitte’s annual holiday survey, please visit http://www.deloitte.com/us/2013HolidaySurvey.