Tis the season for multi-channel retailing, says Deloitte

Holiday shopping won't be a zero sum game between physical and digital retailing, but a multichannel circle is forming, according to Deloitte's annual holiday survey.
Written by Larry Dignan, Contributor

The retail industry is in flux with malls under fire, Amazon building brick-and-mortar outlets and every retailer aligning digital and physical commerce. A Deloitte survey highlights just how the retail parts are fitting together for the holidays.

Deloitte's 29th annual holiday survey highlights the following:

  • 55 percent will shop at malls this holiday season, but 28 percent will go less due to crowds, pricing and avoiding traffic.
  • Yet those physical store shoppers are more loyal as 51 percent of consumers will buy from the same retailer if the product isn't available in store.
  • Respondents with annual incomes of less than $100,000 said they will spend 54 percent of their holiday budgets in store vs. 46 percent with incomes topping $100,000.
  • 63 percent of shoppers will use in-store technology including price checkers and self-checkout kiosks.
  • 72 percent of consumers will use smartphones for shopping but the majority only use the devices for finding store locations and checking prices.
  • 69 percent of tablet owners will use those devices for holiday shopping and 65 percent will use them to browse. About 57 percent will actually make a purchase.
  • Digital interactions will influence 50 percent of the $345 billion in retail sales expected this holiday season.
  • 45 percent of respondents will use social media to assist in holiday shopping decisions.

Reading through Deloitte's survey---and taking into account Amazon's disappointing outlook for the fourth quarter---it's clear that shopping is going multichannel in a hurry. And given Amazon's tax advantage is gone, the brick and mortar retailers have a shot even as they're likely to downsize physical locations in the years to come.

The moving parts in retail put some color on the strategies deployed by Best Buy and Wal-Mart. Both retailers are hoping to meld digital and physical commerce into one virtuous cycle just like the industry overall. Here's a look at the key charts:

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