A new consumer survey from Deloitte shows that overall spending is up, but most shoppers plan to buy online.

Consumers plan to boost their holiday spending this year, according to the just-released consumer survey report, “2018 Holiday Survey of Consumers,” by Deloitte. And more of that spending will take place online.

Shoppers plan to spend about $525 on gifts this holiday season, up 20% from $430 last year, according to the report, which is based on a survey of 4,036 consumers from Sept. 6-13, 2018. Deloitte defines the holiday season as Nov. 1, 2018-Jan. 31, 2019.

57% of consumers say they’ll shop online compared with 36% heading to stores. This is a 10 percentage point drop over the last four years—from 46% planning to shop in-store in 2015, to 45% in 2016 and 38% in 2017which shows retailers are gradually losing the battle to e-commerce.

“Although the rate of online sales growth is accelerating faster than that of physical stores, retailers should put resources behind both to be relevant,” says Rod Sides, vice chairman at Deloitte. “Online convenience is a way of life for most people, but what a person buys is still influenced by what happens in the store.”

Most online shoppers (79%) plan to do their shopping on their computers, but 67% plan to shop via mobile, which an eight percentage point jump from 59% last year.

Among the top items consumers plan to buy are gift cards and gift certificates (cited by 54% of respondents) and apparel (53%). A large share, 49%, of respondents don’t yet have specific items in mind that they plan to buy, whether shopping in store or online.

But the time to buy is fast approaching and some are already getting a jump start on their gift purchases. 60% of respondents are so-called early shoppers, which Deloitte defines as those who begin holiday shopping before Thanksgiving, and plan to spend 28%, or $370, more than those who start shopping on or after Thanksgiving.

72% of consumers plan to make purchases in late November (Nov. 16-30). That includes 44% of respondents say they’re waiting for Black Friday and 53% for Cyber Monday. Deloitte says consumers’ reliance on these shopping days, however, is down from last year.


Deloitte also forecasted that e-commerce sales may increase 17-22% for the 2018 holiday season, according to its annual holiday forecast. Last year, Deloitte estimated that holiday sales increased 16.6% and reached $109.8 billion from Nov. 1 2017-Jan. 31, 2018. It had projected an 18-21% increase for the 2017 holiday season.

Deloitte’s healthy estimate is partly because of “solid disposable personal income growth,” says Daniel Bachman, Deloitte’s U.S. economic forecaster. “A strong labor market should also aid retail spending, along with elevated consumer confidence and a stable personal savings rate of around 7%,” Bachman says.

Overall for the holiday season, Deloitte is projecting a 5.0-5.6% increase in total retail sales.



April Berthene contributed to this report.