Consumers will spend 21% of their holiday gift budgets online, says Deloitte's 18th annual consumer survey of holiday spending. More than a third plan to do their online gift buying at work and 30% plan to buy gifts at eBay.com, the survey reports.

Consumers will spend 21% of their holiday gift budgets online, says Deloitte’s 18th annual consumer survey of holiday retail spending. More than a third plan to do their online gift buying at work and 30% plan to buy gifts at eBay.com, the survey reports.

Counter to some other surveys, the Deloitte survey of 17,000 consumers reports that the Internet is the second most popular shopping destination, with 56% of consumers saying they plan to shop online, exceeded only by the 70% who plan to shop at discount stores. 50% plan to shop at traditional department stores, up from 37% in 2002. 22% will shop at dollar stores, up from 20% last year.

Confirming other surveys, the Deloitte survey reports that the Christmas shopping season is growing longer, with consumers not only starting their shopping earlier, but also extending it beyond Christmas. A surprising 58% of shoppers will do some gift buying after Dec. 25, driven by shoppers under 35. Also contributing to that trend is the growing popularity of gift cards, which are often used in post-holiday shopping.

While the Internet is gaining popularity, another surprising finding of the survey is the resurgence of the department store, again led by younger shoppers. 56% of the youngest group of shoppers said they will choose departments stores, up 15 percentage points from last year.

Survey respondents say that the most important reason for choosing a shopping destination is one that is “most convenient for me,” followed closely by “has best value for the money.” More than half of respondents identified convenience as extended store hours and 45% identified it as shopping carts.

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Deloitte expects total holiday shopping to grow by 6-7% over last year.

“The holiday season is back,” said Tara Weiner, national managing partner of the Consumer Business Practice at Deloitte. “Consumers have spoken out loud and clear in this year’s survey as to how they define today’s shopping experience. They’re telling us their holiday spending decisions will be influenced by convenience and value and not just the lowest price. The successful retailers this holiday season will be those who have figured out how to offer the ideal shopping experience for today’s consumer.”

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