That colleague glued to her computer monitor in the coming months may just as likely be hunting for a bargain as racing to meet her next deadline.
77.1% of U.S. consumers with jobs plan to go online from work to do some of their holiday shopping, research and consulting firm Conlumino reported today. 45.9% will shop online only during their own time only, but 31.2% say some of their web shopping will take place on company time.
Among all U.S. consumers—including those who are retired or unemployed—67.4% plan to go online to shop this holiday season, an increase of 14.9 percentage points from 52.5% in last year’s survey, Conlumino says. Most of that shift represents more consumers shopping via smartphones and tablets: the percentage planning to use mobile devices to shop for holiday gifts rose to 44.7% in this year’s survey, an increase of 14.8 percentage points from 29.9% last year. 51.1% say they will shop from a computer, an increase of only 0.8%.
A separate report from RetailNext, which primarily compiles data about bricks-and-mortar retail stores, projects online sales will increase 16.2% during this holiday season over last year, and account for 11.9% of retail sales this year versus 10.5% during the 2014 festive season.
RetailNext says the increase in digital sales represents a big part in the 2.8% growth in overall retail sales this holiday season versus last year. Conlumino projects a 3.2% increase in holiday retail sales, and says seven in 10 of the consumers it surveyed plan to spend more or the same on holiday gifts in 2015 than they did last year.
“This holiday will be a reasonable one for the nation’s retailers, but it will fall short of being spectacular—there just isn’t sufficient spending power or consumer confidence for that,” says Conlumino CEO Neil Saunders. “The truth is that many people feel better off because of the lower cost of gas rather than because of underlying improvements in the economy, and that very much leaves spending at the mercy of gas prices.”
But Saunders does see a big change in how and where consumers will shop.
“With mobile becoming more significant, retailers will need to work harder to ensure they are offering shoppers a seamless multichannel experience,” he says. “Of course that’s something that incurs costs, which can be an uncomfortable thing to manage at a time when spending is only growing by a conservative amount.”
The Conlumino survey also found 79.8% of consumers plan to do some holiday shopping in stores, down 4.4 percentage points from last year, 9.2% on TV shopping sites (down 1.8 percentage points), 19.8% via mail order (down 2.6 percentage points) and 4.2% at other venues, such as yard sales (down 0.6 percentage points.)
Conlumino surveyed 5,750 consumers in September and early October. RetailNext says it bases its projections on “retail trends and broader macroeconomic data.”