A holiday shopping survey from Deloitte shows that nearly half of all shoppers will buy online.

When it comes to winning online shoppers’ business this holiday season, free shipping is far more important than fast shipping.

That’s according to a just-released report from Deloitte LLC, which polled more than 4,000 U.S. shoppers in mid-September about their holiday shopping habits.

87% say free shipping is more important than fast shipping, and many (60%) expect retailers to offer free on-time shipping as late as Dec. 17. Offering free shipping this holiday season could cut into retailers’ profits, with UPS and FedEx raising fuel surcharge rates in time for the holidays.

Deloitte’s research found that 75% of consumers plan to spend more this year than they did last year, a level that hasn’t been reached since 2000, when 82% of shoppers surveyed by Deloitte planned to spend more. Nearly half (47%) plan to do some shopping online.

The Internet will be more influential than ever when it comes to holiday shopping. 82% of those polled by Deloitte say what they find by doing their homework online will have an impact on their online and offline purchasing decisions.


Deloitte’s data shows that consumers who take an omnichannel approach to holiday shopping will spend an average of $1,829 this holiday season, 75.9% more than shoppers who plan to shop only in stores. ($1,040). On average, Americans are expected to spend $1,440 during the holidays this season, up 12.5% from 2014.

One way for retailers who have both an online and physical retail presence to grab a slice of that pie is to offer a buy online, pickup in store option this holiday season for online purchases. 43% of shoppers surveyed say they’re likely to use the perk, with 67% citing the ability to save on shipping charges as a key reason for doing so and 35% saying they’ll shop for other items when they go to pick up their online purchase in store.

Also of note, more shoppers own mobile devices this year than last (77% in 2015 versus 67% in 2014). That matters for retailers because 78% of all shoppers will do some of their holiday shopping on their phone, and smartphone owners say they will spend more than a third more (34%) than those who don’t have a smartphone this holiday season.