Expect more consumers to wield their smart phones for their holiday shopping this year. Fully 70% of consumers in the Deloitte 2019 Holiday Retail Survey plan to make a holiday purchase using a smart phone. That’s up from 67% in 2018 and from 59% in 2017.
A separate Visa Inc. report finds that, overall, 29% of consumers prefer shopping online with a mobile device. A higher percentage—45%—of consumers under 35 prefer it, compared with 30% for those between 35 and 54 and 11% for those 55 and older.
This is part of a broader trend to more online shopping. E-commerce sales over the holidays are expected to grow between 14% and 18%, higher than the 11.2% seen in 2018, Deloitte says. On average, consumers shopping online this season anticipate spending an average of $879 compared with an average of $541 for those shopping in stores.
Consumers will turn to online sources for help with their shopping, too. “Our research suggests that two-thirds of consumers intend to begin their holiday-shopping journeys at online retailers with few or no physical locations, including auction sites,” Deloitte says. “Nearly the same number (58%) plan to use online search engines as their main source for research.” Fifty-two percent will use a retail store for holiday shopping research. Deloitte commissioned the survey from an independent research firm in September that polled more than 4,400 U.S. consumers.
Deloitte forecasts that holiday shopping will peak in early December this year. Typically, the peak is around Thanksgiving, the firm says. “One reason may be that this year, Thanksgiving is unusually late, placing Black Friday on November 29 and Cyber Monday on December 2. Perhaps that is why nearly 70 percent of consumers say they plan to holiday shop in early December.”
In related news, Visa released a holiday-shopping outlook that predicts holiday sales will increase 4.1% from last year. It forecasts that consumers will spend $618 on average on gifts, compared with $608 in 2018.
Even with predictions of the shopping peak in early December, many consumers say they will shop on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, and Cyber Monday, the Monday following Thanksgiving. Visa’s data shows that 43% intend to shop on Black Friday this year, compared with 42% in 2018. Cyber Monday plans are down to 35% from 37%. Plans for shopping on Thanksgiving Day, at 17% of respondents, is higher than 15% in 2018.