A majority of Americans will do part of their holiday shopping online, MSU study finds

Nov 27, 2014

Many holiday shoppers will be hunting for bargains in their pajamas.

Major retailers are hoping to convince people to shop online and in their stores. People who shop online and in stores tend to spend more than those who shop exclusively online or in stores
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A new report says nearly half of all holiday presents will be bought online this year.

Pat Huddleston is a Michigan State University professor who specializes in consumer behavior. She expects 56% of holiday shoppers will buy gifts online this year, buying 44% of their presents via the web.

By comparison, online shopping amounts to roughly 12% of retail sales annually.

Huddleston says a shortened holiday shopping season is one reason for the increase.   

“People need to get their shopping done and get it done quickly,” says Huddleston.  

She expects many online shoppers will opt to buy gift cards, and that retailers are also offering more deals to lure online shoppers.

And it turns out, Thanksgiving could be the best day to shop all year.

An analysis of sales data and store circulars contradicts conventional wisdom that Black Friday is when shoppers can get the most and biggest sales of the year.

Turns out, shoppers will find more discounted items in stores that are open on Thanksgiving.

An analysis of promotions for The Associated Press by researcher MarketTrack, for example, shows a total of 86 laptops and tablets deeply discounted as door buster deals at Best Buy, Wal-Mart and others on the holiday compared with just nine on Black Friday.

And on the Web, discounts will be deeper on the holiday. Adobe, which tracks data on 4,500 retail web sites, finds online prices on Thanksgiving are expected to be about 24% cheaper compared with 23% on Black Friday and 20% on Cyber Monday.