October 22, 2013 Last Updated 11:01 am

Deloitte survey finds that the Internet will be the top shopping destination this holiday season

The Christmas shopping season is almost upon us (believe it or not) and this year, for the first time, the Internet will be the top holiday shopping destination, according to a new survey from Deloitte LLP.

Deloitte is predicting a good holiday sales season (most analysts seem to always predict a good season), with shoppers to spend an average of $421 on holiday gifts this year, up from $386 last year. Also, survey respondents are generally upbeat about the economy, with 54 percent saying the economy is on the rebound, up 22 percentage points in the past two years.

Christmas-Shopping-lg“The survey reveals a brighter consumer spending outlook than we’ve seen in several years,” said Alison Paul, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP, and retail & distribution sector leader. “Consumers are feeling more generous about gift spending, and we are encouraged by their plans to spend more on going out for celebrations, decorating their homes and treating themselves and their families to ‘early gifts’ while holiday shopping this year. The government shutdown and debt crisis had the potential to dampen consumer sentiment, however, the settlement likely averted any significant impact on the holiday season. The timely resolution of those issues may also give consumers an extra confidence boost just as promotions start hitting the stores and the shopping season gets underway.”

For the first time in the survey the Internet placed first in shopping destinations with 47 percent saying they plan to make purchases online. Discount stores placed second at 44 percent.

“Shoppers put a premium on both their time and the shopping experience,” said Paul. “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.”

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