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Online Holiday Shopping to Overtake In-Store for First Time, Survey Finds

In its annual Holiday Outlook, PwC found 54 percent of respondents plan to shop using e-commerce, up from 50 percent last year.

(Bloomberg)—For the first time, consumers in the U.S. plan to do more of their holiday shopping online than in physical stores, according to a new survey.

In its annual Holiday Outlook, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP found that 54% of respondents will opt for the convenience of their smartphones, laptops and PCs, and even in-home voice assistants, compared with 50% last year.

Retailers have been beefing up their online capabilities for years by investing in e-commerce websites, mobile apps and delivery services to boost digital sales. This year, Americans are spending about 6.3 hours a day using digital media, up 7% from last year, PwC said in the outlook, citing Mary Meeker’s annual Internet Trends report from June.

Online and in-store shopping are increasingly forming an integrated experience, with both of equal importance, according to Steve Barr, U.S. consumer markets leader at PwC.

“Both retailers and consumers have blurred those lines, and it’s no longer an either-or proposition, but and,” he said in an interview. “Looking at how retail has transformed into a boundary-less experience is the important message from this survey.”

Sustainability is also on the minds of shoppers. Younger gift buyers are increasingly looking at options besides buying new, with almost 36% of millennials surveyed saying they will seek resale or rental items. Used clothing, footwear and accessories represent a $10 billion market in the U.S., according to data from market research firm IBISWorld.

Overall, almost nine out of 10 respondents said they will spend the same or more this season as they did in 2018, averaging $1,284, which PwC calls a “modest” increase of 2.7% from a year earlier.

To contact the reporter on this story: Donald Moore in New York at [email protected].

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Anne Riley Moffat at [email protected]

Lisa Wolfson, Jonathan Roeder

© 2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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