As Amazon Prime Hits 90 Million, Online Holiday Spending To Surpass Brick-And-Mortar

Deloitte is predicting that this year, people expect to do 51% of their holiday spending online, making it the first time it may surpass in-store spending. Among high-income families, the online impulse is even stronger, with those earning $100,000 or more saying they plan to do 57% of holiday spending online.

And Amazon’s share of that continues to increase, with a new report from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners finding that Amazon Prime membership in the U.S. is now topping 90 million.

This is Deloitte’s 32nd holiday survey, completed online based on a sample of 5,000 adults, with average spending of $1,226. (Households earning $100,000 or more intend to spend $2,226.)

Only a third of that -- $430 -- is for gifts. A greater share -- $480 -- is earmarked for holiday entertaining and socializing outside the home. Deloitte says the increases seem to be driven by healthy levels of cash confidence, with 81% of the sample saying that their household financial situation is the same or better than it was a year ago. In last year’s survey, just 63% said so.)



Total holiday spending is expected to average $1,226, which includes gifts (and gift cards) as well as non-gift clothing and home furnishings as well as other ways to celebrate. 

The shift to online spending continues to be closely watched, both by legacy retailers hoping to score with their own websites and online retailers like Amazon, Ebay and Etsy. This survey finds that 55% say they plan to shop online, far ahead of mass merchants (44%) and department stores (28%.)

The results are just one more indication that consumers approach holiday shopping differently than their routine retail habits: Last year, online sales accounted for just 11.7%, or $341.7 billion, of total U.S. retail sales -- a long way from Deloitte’s prediction of 51%. But online sales show their fastest growth in three years and make up 42% of the growth in retail last year, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. 

Amazon remains the major factor. While the Seattle-based company is famously coy about how many people are ponying up for Prime membership, Consumer Intelligence Research Partners’ new report calculates that Prime membership has hit 90 million in the U.S.

Prime shoppers spend about $1,300 per year, compared to $700 for non-Prime customers. With an estimated 63% of Amazon shoppers having signed up for the service so far, up 6% in the most recent period, renewal intention remains high, with a reported 95% of Prime customers planning to re-up.

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