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Holiday Shoppers Plan to Spend More in Stores Than Online

Paul Ausick

More than half of holiday shoppers plan to visit shopping malls this holiday season, and more important to mall retailers, to spend the majority of the holiday budget in brick-and-mortar stores. Customers who shop in the physical store are also more loyal than those who shop online, a matter of considerable interest to retailers.

More than two-thirds of consumers are planning to spend as much or more this year, but only 15% said they planned to spend more. That plan may go out the window, though, because less than half (42%) of consumers say they have a set budget this year. That could present a significant opportunity for retailers to engage up-selling and cross-selling, both of which depend for success on knowledgeable sales staff.

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These results come from survey data released Monday by Deloitte as part of its 29th annual holiday survey.

Deloitte also reports that 72% will use smartphones for holiday shopping, with 58% using their phones to find store locations and 52% to check prices. This is an important group for retainers because smartphone owners plan to spend 27% more on gifts than those who don’t own smartphones. Half of respondents responded that they owned a tablet, up from 38% a year ago, and 69% of tablet owners will use their devices for holiday shopping.

Perhaps the most eye-opening point in the report is Deloitte’s forecast that digital interactions will influence 50% ($345 billion) of holiday retail sales. That is huge, and one of the main drivers of that spending is social media, which 72% of the survey’s respondents use and 45% use to help with their holiday shopping.

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A Deloitte executive sums it up:

In-store shopping continues to be an important part of the traditional holiday shopping experience for many consumers. This holiday season, respondents indicated they will spend 52 percent of their holiday budgets in brick-and-mortar stores and only 40 percent online. Furthermore, respondents expect to spend on average 35 percent of their holiday budgets in local retail stores. ... A satisfying in-store experience, an intuitive website, the right in-store innovations, informed store associates, the ability to influence purchases through mobile -- all of these elements and more help distinguish successful retailers from the others.

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