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Holiday forecast: Higher sales, more online shopping


The holiday shopping frenzy has begun, and it is shaping up to be more digital than ever.

Summer has barely said goodbye, but consumers nationwide have already turned their attention to the holidays. In fact, nearly one third of consumers, and nearly half of parents, began holiday shopping before Labor Day.

These findings were revealed in the second annual “Holiday Consumer Pulse Poll” from Rubicon Project, a report based on 1,003 interviews among U.S. shoppers. Americans plan to spend on average $1,175 this holiday season, a 12% jump over last year, with consumers slightly more likely to buy lots of smaller items rather than one big-ticket item, the report said.

What’s more interesting is where they plan to do their shopping. The survey found that 73% of respondents plan to shop online this holiday season, and more than one in three plan to shop on mobile. A surprising 22% of shoppers (and 28% of millennials) do not plan to shop in-store at all this year. These online and mobile-only shoppers tend to be millennial males, and most likely will shop for gift cards (64%), apparel/accessories (57%), toys (46%), and technology (37%), the report said.

“This year’s survey shows that consumers are shopping earlier than ever, and taking control of when, where and how they plan to spend billions of dollars on holiday gifts,” said Harry Patz, chief revenue officer, Rubicon Project.

As shoppers continue to do more of their shopping online, Cyber Monday appears to be on track to outpace Black Friday in popularity among consumers. Specifically, 47% of survey respondents planned to shop on Cyber Monday, compared to just 42% for Black Friday. Additionally, 22% of Americans have already started researching Cyber Monday deals as of August, up 10 percentage points from this time last year, the report said.

“With Americans shopping earlier and spending considerably more this year than last, retailers have a unique opportunity to target shoppers across a variety of media and platforms,” Patz added. “The research shows that parents and millennials in particular will be two key drivers behind this year’s increase in holiday spend.”

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