News Feature | May 7, 2014

Deloitte Study: Digital Influences More than $1 Trillion in Retail Store Sales

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

Retail Digital Sales Up Deloitte Study

Digital shoppers purchase at a 40 percent higher rate in-store; 84 percent reach for devices before or during store visits

The latest study by Deloitte Digital asserts that digital interactions influence 36 cents of every dollar spent in the retail store, or approximately $1.1 trillion. By the end of 2014, that number will climb to 50 percent, or $1.5 trillion of total store sales.

The study, "The New Digital Divide," quantifies the extent to which consumers' use of desktop and laptop computers, tablets, and smartphones influences brick-and-mortar store sales. 

"Mobile and online transactions represent only a sliver of total retail revenue potential," said Kasey Lobaugh, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP and Deloitte Digital's chief retail innovation officer.  "Retailers that narrowly focus on digital commerce – rather than the full journey that leads to a purchase – often fail to recognize how their customers shop and make decisions in the store.  The result is a digital divide between what consumers do and what retailers deliver.  This gap not only threatens overall revenue, but requires retailers to reset the way they measure and invest in digital efforts."

According to eMarketer, with smartphones alone, industry estimates put mobile commerce sales at roughly $40 billion today.  By comparison, Deloitte Digital's data indicates that mobile-influenced sales in the store have reached $593 billion, suggesting that smartphones' influence on store sales has far surpassed the rate at which consumers make a purchase directly on their phones.

Among the study findings, consumers using a device during their shopping journey convert, or make a purchase, at a rate 40 percent higher than those who do not use a device.  Additionally, Deloitte Digital found a dramatic impact on traffic, spending and loyalty from digital shoppers:

  • 84 percent of store visitors use their devices before or during a shopping trip.
  • 22 percent of consumers spend more as a result of using digital; just over half of these shoppers report spending at least 25 percent more than they had intended.
  • 75 percent of respondents said product information found on social channels influenced their shopping behavior and enhanced loyalty.

According to Retail sales calculated using U.S. Census Bureau January-November 2013 actual sales totals and December 2013 Advance Monthly Retail Trade estimates, currently, more than 90 percent of retail sales occur in brick-and-mortar stores, but the surging digital influence calls upon retailers to redefine marketing, the store associate's role and in-store technology.

Consumers are largely do-it-yourselfers, and prefer to navigate the aisles and the checkout without a store associate's help.  Eight in 10 (80 percent) respondents in Deloitte Digital's study said they would rather research product information on their own device or from an in-store device like a kiosk, rather than ask a sales associate. 

However, digital interactions are not "one-size-fits-all" and vary significantly by store category, with the highest influence occurring in specialty stores.  At the top is the electronics/appliances category, where devices influence 58 percent of store sales, followed by furniture (56 percent) and sporting goods (50 percent); the impact falls lower in categories like health/personal care/drug (35 percent), grocery (29 percent) and general merchandise/department/warehouse club (23 percent).

The survey was commissioned by Deloitte Digital and conducted online by an independent research company between November 15 and 22, 2013. The survey polled a national sample of 2,006 random consumers.