Online sales are steadily gaining traction and overtaking the traditional crush in brick-and-mortar shopping centers, research says.
A new report released by Forrester Research projects that in this year's holiday scramble, shopping online is expected to rise by 15 percent from last year, due to the expanding role and features found on smartphones and tablets.
As a result, online holiday sales in the United States are expected to reach $78.7 billion in November. The report says:
"This year, 167 million shoppers will go to the Web to do their holiday shopping; they will spend, on average, $472 for the season. This marks a significant boost from the average spend of $419 in 2012 -- and accounts for 12 percent of the total growth projected for the season."
The rise in mobile computing is said to be the root cause of the change in consumer spending habits. As more tech giants jump on the mobile device bandwagon and companies release shopping applications for tablets and smartphones, consumers find it easier to find the best deal -- and are able to avoid the traditional holiday crush full of stressed-out gift hunters, crying children and long queues.
However, by purchasing online, we may be doing our local economy a disservice. According to the Andersonville Study of Retail Economics, local businesses generate over 70 percent more local economic activity than big, brand-name retail giants, while the latter offer very little to boost local businesses and entrepreneurs.
The report also noted that in 2012's Thanksgiving weekend, 41 percent of consumers surveyed said they did all of their shopping online, up from 38 percent the previous year.