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Consumer Confidence Up, Holiday Shopping On

Online retailers prove to be more popular than a variety of brick-and-mortar stores

Have holiday shoppers in the US shaken off their fears of economic uncertainty yet? An October report from Deloitte seems to think so. The professional services firm reports a rise in consumer confidence in 2013, and it expects those feelings will translate to higher spending around the holidays this year. And a lot of holiday purchases will be occurring online.

In fact, Deloitte reports that 47% of respondents expected to shop online this holiday season, making it the most popular shopping channel. In comparison, 44% thought they would shop at a discount or value department store, 28% expected to shop at a traditional department store, and 21% anticipated going to an electronics, office supply or computer store.

Digital retail channels are also gaining the lion’s share of shoppers’ holiday budgets. Thirty-eight percent of respondents said they would spend at least half of their budgets online, while just over one-third expect to spend between one-quarter and one-half of their money on the internet.

Smartphones are making their presence felt, with almost seven in 10 indicating that they plan on using their smartphone for a variety of purposes during the holiday shopping season. Respondents indicated they would more often use smartphones to find store locations (56%), research prices (54%) or get product information (47%) than to shop or browse products online (45%).

Social media is also increasingly becoming part of the holiday shopping experience, with 45% of respondents saying they would use a social network while considering purchases. The most popular reason for using social media was to research a gift idea (48%), followed by researching discounts (44%), reading reviews or other recommendations (40%), browsing products (37%) and checking out what family or friends desire (35%).

eMarketer estimates US holiday season retail ecommerce spending, which includes all digital purchases made in November and December, will reach $61.8 billion, up 15.1% over last year. The last two months of the year will account for nearly one-quarter of all retail ecommerce spending for 2013.

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