Study: Online holiday shopping will exceed in-store sales

For the first time ever, more Americans will buy more online than in-store, according to a new survey of holiday shoppers.

But some economists say the outlook isn't necessarily bleak for brick and mortar.

The outlook for physical stores is pretty bright for 2017. But with more people shopping from the palm of their hand, the brick and mortars already know they're competing with convenience.

"We're finally seeing the prophecy that was made so many years ago that people are going to get online and use their computers,” explained Fort Worth economist Allyn Needham. “Well, we're seeing that come to fulfillment."

A 2017 holiday retail study by Deloitte reveals 51 percent of people surveyed will opt for the internet over making their way into physical stores to purchase gifts.

Needham points out it remains that the majority of money spent will take place in brick and mortar stores. Target and Walmart continue to dominate while department stores like Sears and JCPenney struggle. A key factor in overall increased spending for 2017 is consumer confidence.

"That means that people believe they're going to keep their job and that their income is going to be the same, that the economy is growing and that things are safe,” Needham explained.

Needham says niche stores, like Bed Bath and Beyond and Barnes & Noble, will do well with holiday sales as shopping malls look for ways to attract traffic.

The Deloitte study points out smartphones and stores with apps will keep driving the trend.

"What we're getting to is the tipping point between e-commerce and retail,” Needham said. “And it won't be long before e-commerce will have more in sales than retail will during the Christmas holiday season."

The study also revealed gift giving is moving 'outside the box' with more people choosing to give experiences, like trips and concert tickets, as presents.

To read the full study, click here.

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