The holiday shopping rush will begin this week, and Americans are gearing up for Black Friday weekend sales. Though most Americans won't be shopping this weekend (mainly due to the crowds), those who do are set to spend more money than ever.
Though department stores will no doubt be packed when they open on Thursday evening, the crowds might be a tiny lighter this year. This is because more Americans than ever are planning to do their holiday shopping online.
A new Gallup poll released today shows that over half of Americans (53%) now say they are "very likely" or "somewhat likely" to shop online during the 2013 holiday season. This represents the first time Gallup has seen a majority of Americans intending to do holiday shopping online and a huge increase from the 10% that intended to do so just 15 years ago in 1998.
Though more Americans intend to do holiday shopping at department and discount stores (74% and 72%, respectively), online Christmas shopping is the only type of shopping that is seeing a real surge in the U.S.
Gallup saw a predictable decline in all methods of shopping when the recession began in 2008. Consumer intent to shop at discount stores, specialty stores, department stores, and through catalogues has remained steady or slightly declined since that time. Online shopping intent, however, has increased 10% since 2008.
These numbers show that Americans are still steadily warming up to online shopping, though it will take years for the method to catch up to department stores. Still, traditional retailers who aren't currently rethinking their business models could be swept aside faster than anyone realizes.