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More consumers shopping mobile and local this holiday season

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More consumers shopping mobile and local this holiday season

Two-thirds of Americans plan to shop small businesses or independent retailers.

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. 

Overall, smartphone ownership has risen to 61% of respondents from 42% 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 of women surveyed own smartphones, up from 46% last year, and 79% of consumers ages 18-24 own a smartphone.

Among smartphone owners, nearly seven in 10 plan to use their devices for holiday shopping.  These consumers will primarily use smartphones to search for store locations, check and compare prices and obtain product information.

Consumers that use smartphones plan to spend 27% 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 respondents that own tablets, nearly two-thirds  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.

"Service levels continue to influence respondents' willingness to give a retailer their business."

"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."

Home cookin’

This year, two-thirds of shoppers plan to shop locally at small businesses, independent retailers or boutique shops which are not part of national chains. Among the reasons for shopping locally, consumers cite desire to support the local economy, to find one-of-a-kind gifts and because it’s simply more convenient.

Apparently, we still like human interaction

While the Internet ranks as the top shopping destination for the 2013 holiday season, 37% 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.

"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  of shoppers will use self-help technologies – the most common being price checkers and self-checkout payment lanes.


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