Physical stores are no longer at the top of everyone’s shopping lists, instead preferring to seek out items online, according to new research.
Reports Wednesday (Nov. 23) by Fortune compiled the latest data on shopping habits for Black Friday and found that, while National Retail Federation numbers signal that more shoppers will enter stores this year than last, online visits will surpass that of in-store visits.
The trend first emerged last year, with 2015 being the first year that the same number of shoppers went online as those that went to storefronts. Slice Intelligence researchers calculated that eCommerce sales on Black Friday spiked 40 percent compared to 2014 levels, while Deloitte found that shoppers are allocating the majority of their budgets (51 percent) to online sales.
It’s led to a major bump in online competition for the top retailers, reports noted, citing Forrester Research, which found holiday season sales are likely to top $100 billion for the first time ever this year. Walmart is at the top of its game in an effort to grab the biggest share of that money as possible and taking a dual online, in-store approach by launching an app that integrates eCommerce with its physical stores.
But Amazon is working to fight for the market, too. The number of people that said they plan to shop at Amazon this holiday season rose by 5 percent compared to last year, and half of all eCommerce sales at least start on Amazon.com, according to BloomReach analysis.
Part of companies’ strategies to compete is to get a major head start on the deals. Thanksgiving, Fortune stated, is now a peer to Black Friday rather than a precursor, with more than a quarter of shoppers going to stores on Thanksgiving Day in 2015, NPD Group researchers found. This year, JCPenney is opening its doors earlier than rivals on Thanksgiving Day, at 3 p.m.