NEW YORK — The number of people utilizing digital devices for holiday shopping is expected to rise this year, according to the 28th annual holiday survey by Deloitte here, although slightly more than one-third of respondents said they still prefer to shop in a physical store rather than online.
According to the survey, the number of smartphone owners increased this year to 61% of respondents, compared with 42% two years ago, with 68% of smartphone owners and 63% of tablet owners indicating they plan to use their mobile devices — to search for store locations (56%); to check and compare prices (54%); and to obtain product information (47%). In addition, smartphone owners said they plan to spend 27% more on gifts than non-smartphone users
"Tablets are a two-way street for retailers,” according to Alison Paul, vice chairman of Deloitte and retail and distribution sector leader. “They have opened up an entirely new consumer touchpoint where shoppers can view multiple retailers' products. Retailers can also put tablets to work in their stores, providing both their sales team and customers with a broader lens into merchandise selection."
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Of the 37% of respondents who said they prefer shopping in a physical store, service levels were a primary factor, Deloitte reported, with 54% saying knowledgeable store associates are likely to influence their purchases and 32% saying associates can provide them with a better shopping experience.
"In the store, retail associates can be engaged to drive loyalty rather than just complete a transaction," Paul said. "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."
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