October 16, 2013, 2:33 PM

E-retail’s holiday gains

Most smartphone and tablet owners will use their devices to shop.

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The average U.S. shopper will make 39.5% of their holiday purchases via e-commerce sites this year, up from 38.8% last year, Shop.org says in an estimate released today. The e-commerce arm of the National Retail Federation trade group says that would mark a high point of holiday e-retail.

Shop.org had previously estimated that U.S. holiday sales in 2013 would increase 13% to 15% year over year to $82 billion. EMarketer, a market research firm, says that U.S. holiday e-retail sales will increase 15.1% this year compared with 2012.

The survey Shop.org released today also showed that:

• 51.5% of consumers will shop online this year, nearly unchanged from 51.8% last year. By comparison, 64.7% of consumers this year will head to discount stores for holiday purchases, with 51.1% heading to grocery stores, 35.1% to clothing and accessories stores, 29.5% to electronics stores and 20.9% to drug stores.

• 56.3% of consumers own smartphones and 34.0% own tablets. For smartphone owners, 53.8% will use their devices this holiday shopping season to check store hours, compare prices and buy items. For tablet owners, 63.2% of them will use their devices for those tasks.

• 2.1% of consumers plan to do all their holiday shopping online, about the same as in last year’s survey. By contrast, 15.2% of consumers do not plan to do any holiday shopping via e-commerce sites this year, down a percentage point from 16.2% in 2012.

Overall, the National Retail Federation—which polled 6,415 consumers between Oct. 1 and Oct. 8—found that 41.2% of U.S. shoppers plan to begin holiday shopping before Halloween, Oct. 31. More specifically, 12.4% began shopping before Sept. 1, 8.2% started in September and 20.6% began or will begin in October.

The poll also found that 51.0% of consumers said the state of the U.S. economy will affect their holiday shopping plans, down from 52.3% last year. That could help online retailers, as 31.2% of respondents plan to comparison shop online in response to economic worries.

“Though the foundation for solid holiday season growth exists, Americans are questioning the stability of our economy, our government and their own finances,” says NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay. “We expect consumers to set a modest budget for gifts and other holiday-related purchases as they wait and see what will become of the U.S. economy in the coming months.”

 

 

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