Online holiday shopping is poised to beat in-store sales for the first time ever - and it's terrible news for retailers like Sears and Macy's
- People say they plan to spend more money online than in stores this holiday shopping season.
- This is the first year in Deloitte's annual survey that shoppers have predicted their online purchases will exceed what they buy in-store.
- While some retailers are thriving with the rise of e-commerce, traditional brick-and-mortar retailers like Macy's and Sears are struggling to keep up.
For the first year, Americans are expected to spend more money online than in stores this holiday season.
Shoppers plan to spend 51% of their holiday shopping budget online, compared to 42% in stores, according to Deloitte's survey of more than 4,000 Americans.
This is the first year that online sales are expected to exceed in-store sales. Last year, respondents told Deloitte that they expected to spend 47% of their budget in stores and 47% online. In every year prior to 2016, expectations for in-store shopping exceeded online sales predictions.
Kim Bhasin / Business Insider
Deloitte's survey looks at shoppers' entire "holiday budget." However, similar trends are expected to play out over Black Friday weekend, the unofficial kickoff of the most important period of the year for many retailers.
According to National Retail Federation data, 99 million people said they shopped in stores on Thanksgiving weekend last year - a drop of three million from the year before. Meanwhile, 108 million people shopped online on Thanksgiving weekend in 2016 - a five million increase from the year before.
The rise of online holiday shopping is a boon for e-commerce companies like Amazon, as well as for retailers that have built out their online business, like Walmart and Target. However, for traditional brick-and-mortar retailers like Macy's, Sears, and other department stores, the rise of e-commerce has significantly cut into sales.
The internet is the No. 1 place that customers expect to shop, with 55% of respondents saying that it is the most likely place they will shop this year in Deloitte's survey. Meanwhile, only 28% of people said that department stores would be their top place to shop - a 4% drop from last year.
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