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50% Of Holiday Shopping Done Online

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Retailers could see record web traffic this year as more consumers then ever before plan to shop online, according to Deloitte's 31st annual holiday survey of consumer spending intentions and trends.

The 2016 Deloitte holiday survey found that holiday shoppers this year plan to spend just as much as online as they spend in brick and mortar stores. The survey results, released Wednesday, polled over 5,000 consumers across the U.S. with questions about their intentions for holiday shopping this year.

While the Internet has been as a top shopping destination for years, this season it runs away as the venue of choice.

50 percent of the survey respondents said they plan to shop online for gifts, beating discount/value department stores (43 percent), which ranked as the second best destination for gift shopping.

Consumers polled in the survey anticipate they will spend 47 percent of their budget online, matching what they plan to spend at physical stores for the first time.

In prior years, people planned to spend more in the stores. Just two years ago, store spending was 12 percentage points ahead of online purchasing.

According to the survey, online holiday shopping is likely to take some share from popular store formats both big and small. Fewer people plan to visit standalone "big box" retail stores, with the figure dropping to 59 percent this year from 63 percent last year.

The number of consumers who plan to visit traditional malls this year fell from 53 percent to 50 percent. Shoppers who plan to visit independent stores that are not in a mall dropped four percentage points to 38 percent.

Holiday shoppers plan to buy an average of 14 gifts this year, the same as last year, and will spend an average of $426 on gifts and gift cards. Overall, people surveyed plan to spend an average of $998 on the holidays this year.

The survey also found that shoppers plan to spend a lot of time on online research ahead of their in-store purchases. Two-thirds of respondents, or sixty-six percent, said they will "webroom," which is looking for items online before making in-store purchases.

Meanwhile, half of shoppers, or fifty percent, said they will take part in "showrooming," by first looking at an item in store, then searching online for the best price and making their purchase online.

More than four in ten, or 43 percent of holiday shoppers surveyed said they expect they will use retailers' "buy online, pick up in store" feature.

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