Online shopping also edges out department stores as the most popular shopping destination.

Holiday shoppers will spend the majority of their holiday gift budget online this year—a first—according to Deloitte’s 2017 holiday retail survey.

Shoppers will generate more than $110 billion in online sales with those purchases this holiday season, according to Deloitte, which defines the holiday season as November through January. The consultancy, in conjunction with an independent research company, surveyed 5,085 U.S. consumers Sept. 6-18.

This is the first year online spending, at 51% of dollars spent, is expected to overtake in-store spending, at 42%. Last year, Deloitte found that in-store and online sales were equal, with each accounting for 47% of consumers’ holiday budgets. Catalog, direct mail and other sales avenues made up the remaining 6% of sales last year and are projected to this year as well.

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Consumers are driven online for a number of reasons. Deloitte points to five key areas where online shopping is outperforming in-store experiences:

  • Ease of searching
  • High-quality/trusted products
  • Variety of products/styles available
  • Availability of hard-to-find/unique products
  • Variety of delivery options

However, a third of shoppers note that it’s important for retailers to have both online and physical shopping options, according to Deloitte.

Free shipping continues to be more valuable to shoppers than fast shipping, with just 12% of respondents looking for immediacy in delivery, Deloitte says. With consumers continuing to start their holiday shopping early, they may be less inclined to absorb the costs that typically come with fast shipping options. However, 65% of consumers surveyed think they could order after Dec. 17 and still get free shipping for delivery by Dec. 24.

In-store pickup may also be important, with 43% of those surveyed expecting to buy something online and pick it up in a store. Saving on shipping charges is the main driver behind that option, with faster access to purchases and the ability to shop for other items while in a store also attracting shoppers. Appliances, electronics and clothing are the main categories shoppers plan to pick up in store.


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Not only are shoppers planning to spend a greater portion of their holiday budgets online this year, but online stores also will be the most popular destination for shoppers for the first time, according to a survey of 7,349 consumers conducted October 3-10 for the National Retail Foundation. Some 59% of consumers will shop for a portion of their holiday purchases online this year, beating out department stores (57%), discount stores (54%) and grocery/supermarkets (46%).

NRF also found that 94% of surveyed shoppers plan to take advantage of free shipping offers, while 19% will use expedited delivery options. Same-day deliveries will be used by 12% of surveyed shoppers.