NEW YORK, Nov. 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Increasing smartphone ownership is taking more consumers down the digital shopping route, while many shoppers plan to frequent local small businesses when visiting stores this holiday season, according to Deloitte's 28th annual survey of holiday spending intentions and trends.
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Overall, smartphone ownership has risen to 61 percent of respondents from 42 percent just two years ago. Women, younger generations and households earning less than $100,000 annually showed the most significant leaps in smartphone ownership, expanding the base of shoppers that retailers can access via mobile devices. For example, nearly six in 10 (59 percent) of women surveyed own smartphones, up from 46 percent last year, and 79 percent of consumers ages 18-24 own a smartphone.
Among smartphone owners, nearly seven in 10 (68 percent) plan to use their devices for holiday shopping. These consumers will primarily use smartphones to search for store locations (56 percent), check and compare prices (54 percent) and obtain product information (47 percent).
Consumers that use smartphones to assist in holiday shopping will likely help retailers' registers jingle this year, as these shoppers plan to spend 27 percent more on holiday gifts than non-smartphone owners.
The survey also found a significant number of consumers expecting to shop using their tablets. Among the 38 percent of respondents that own tablets, nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of these owners indicate they plan to use it for holiday shopping this year, with "shop or browse online" ranking as the No. 1 activity.
"Tablets are a two-way street for retailers," said Alison Paul, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP, and retail & distribution sector leader. "They have opened up an entirely new consumer touchpoint, where shoppers can view multiple retailers' products regardless of their location – from their couch to the point of purchase. Retailers can also put tablets to work in their stores, providing both their sales team and customers with a broader lens into merchandise selection. Now that the majority of consumers also own smartphones, these two devices have altered the way they interact with a brand, while also yielding a higher spend per customer."
Shoppers stay close to home
This year, two-thirds (66 percent) of shoppers plan to shop locally at small businesses, independent retailers or boutique shops which are not part of national chains.
The survey indicates that one-third (34 percent) of consumers' budgets will be spent at local stores. Among the reasons for shopping locally, consumers cite desire to support the local economy (60 percent), to find one-of-a-kind gifts (53 percent) and because it is more convenient (44 percent). Nearly one-third (30 percent) report having greater loyalty for the local store over national chains.
Stores still make consumers' spirits bright
While the Internet ranks as the top shopping destination for the 2013 holiday season, 37 percent of respondents still prefer shopping in a physical store rather than online for holiday products. Service levels continue to influence respondents' willingness to give a retailer their business.
More than half (54 percent) of shoppers say that knowledgeable store associates will lead them to making an in-store purchase, and 32 percent of shoppers feel store associates can provide customers a better shopping experience when equipped with the latest mobile technologies. Yet, nearly six in 10 (59 percent) shoppers feel they are better connected to consumer information, including coupons, competitive pricing and product availability, than store associates.
"In the store, retail associates can be engaged to drive loyalty rather than just complete a transaction," continued Paul. "The most successful retailers are empowering their associates to become devoted brand advocates who are knowledgeable, connected online, have the authority to price match and are aware of products available through other channels."
Retailers also benefit from providing shoppers with self-help technology in the store. Nearly six in 10 (58 percent) of shoppers will use self-help technologies – the most common being price checkers (60 percent) and self-checkout payment lanes (57 percent).
About the SurveyThe Holiday Survey was commissioned by Deloitte and conducted online by an independent research organization between September 13 and 23, 2013. The survey polled a national sample of 5,018 consumers and has a margin of error for the entire sample of plus or minus one percentage point.
About Deloitte's Retail & Distribution PracticeDeloitte is a leading presence in the retail and distribution industry, providing audit, consulting, risk management, financial advisory and tax services to nearly 75 percent of the Fortune 500 retailers. With more than 1,400 professionals, Deloitte's retail & distribution practice provides insights, services and solutions assisting retailers across major subsectors including apparel, grocery, food and drug, wholesale and distribution and online. For more information about Deloitte's retail & distribution sector, please visit www.deloitte.com/us/retail-distribution.
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