U.S. consumers may do more of their spending online than ever before this holiday season, adding pressure on shopping malls already struggling to lure traffic.
44% of the average consumer’s shopping will be on the web, compared with about 40% last year, according to a survey released today by the National Retail Federation. That proportion, which includes browsing sessions where shoppers don’t make a purchase, is the highest since at least 2006, when the NRF first asked the question.
“Online has done a much better job of captivating the consumer with prices and early promotions,” Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at consulting firm NPD Group Inc., said in an interview. “The more people spend online, the less people are in the stores, and the less the impulse purchasing.”
U.S. retail sales are expected to rise 4.1% to $617 billion in November and December, the most in three years, according to an earlier report by the NRF. Employment gains are lifting consumer confidence and giving more shoppers the money to buy gifts this year. Given the online shift, brick-and- mortar stores may miss out on a chunk of this resurgence in spending.
According to the NRF, consumers also will spend less on themselves this holiday season, with 57% planning to spend $126.68 on non-gifts, down from $134.77 last year. On top of that, the survey found that shoppers will be more discerning, with 36% planning to check products and prices before they buy, the highest proportion in at least four years.
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