Holiday shoppers opening up their wallets for experiences

Experience spending will trump gift spending this holiday season.

That’s according to Deloitte’s 33rd annual “Holiday Survey” of consumer spending intentions and trends, which found that experience spending, including entertaining at home and away from home, will account for 40% of shoppers’ holiday budgets, or $611 out of the total expected spend of $1,536. Gifts will account for 34% of the budget at $525, while the remaining $400 is expected to be spent on such non-gift purchases as clothing, home and holiday furnishings and other.

Online retailers (60% of shoppers) and mass merchant stores (52%) remain the top two shopping destinations, and are growing their lead year over year, according to Deloitte. They are followed by department stores (32%) and off-price retailers (28%).

Fitty-seven percent of total holiday spend is expected to be online this year, compared with 36% in stores, a drop of 10 percentage points for stores in the last four years. Two-thirds (66%) say they'll head to online retailers to do their research, with retail stores and online search engines tied for second place at 56% each. Sixty-six percent of shoppers plan to research online and purchase in-store; and 45% plan to buy online and pick up in store.

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

Shoppers also made it clear that promotions matter during the holiday season. Eighty-two percent of shoppers said their shopping will be influenced by promotions, with price discounts and free shipping the most appealing offers.

Here are some additional findings from the survey:

• Free shipping is more important to holiday shoppers than fast shipping. With fast shipping, consumers expect their delivery within two days, but for free shipping, many are willing to wait up to a week.

• Many purchases may be up for grabs among retailers this season. Nearly half of respondents said they don't yet have specific items in mind that they plan to buy, whether shopping in-store or online.

• Gift cards/certificates top the holiday gift list, with 54% of shoppers planning to make this purchase, followed by clothing at 53%.
• Many consumers are not yet planning to use emerging technologies for this holiday shopping season. Only 19% are planning to use seamless checkout, voice-assisted shopping, social commerce, or other newer technologies during the upcoming

• The number of online shoppers buying on their phones rose to 67% this year from 59% last year among mobile shoppers.

• Shoppers are expected to purchase 15.9 gifts in 2018, up from 14.7 gifts last year.

• Holiday traffic is expected to peak in late November.

• Looking ahead to traditional shopping days, 44% of respondents said they'll rely on Black Friday as they did in the past, while 53% count on Cyber Monday to do their holiday shopping. Reliance on these shopping days is down from last year.

• Holiday shoppers expect 77% of their spend will be at the same retailers they shopped last year. Promotional activity (better prices) is the most likely reason that shoppers will try out new retailers.

• Two-thirds of shoppers are willing to pay extra for sustainability, a trend driven by younger shoppers

For more detailed results, click here.
This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds