Consumers are forecast to spend £42.4bn this Christmas, a £1.5bn increase on last year, according to statistics released by Deloitte.

Christmas trading

Sales in December are forecast to rise by 4% year on year. Online will account for 13% of sales during December, but 50% of total market growth.

Deloitte attributed this to growing consumer engagement with digital technology, combined with a growing number of retailers adopting a multichannel model.

Some 40% of physical shop sales will be digitally influenced, meaning consumers will use some form of digital technology to inform or facilitate their purchase.

This is equivalent to £15bn, which is almost three times the size of expected online sales for December.

Deloitte head of retail Ian Geddes said: “Growth in the influence of digital on physical retail has been driven by consumers’ desire to access information on products and services, compare prices and increasingly pay and transact via digital devices.

Those retailers that have invested in developing apps may now find that if these are only optimised for use as a separate channel, rather than an integrated part of the shopping experience, they will not be fit for purpose.

“As investment in in-store digital technologies increases, such as mobile payments to facilitate faster, more convenient transactions and beacon technology to track shoppers in-store and deliver personalised messages and promotions, so will the digital influence on the physical environment.

“Just as physical retailers have benefited from the growth of click-and-collect, technology investment in-store will increase the number of shop visitors who buy and how much they spend, as well as help join the online and offline worlds.”

Growth of click-and-collect

The growing importance of click-and-collect will see £2.5bn in sales this Christmas ordered online and collected in-store.

At 45% of all online transactions, this is almost double the level seen in December 2013.

However, the click-and-collect market is fragmenting, with new models emerging offering more and more convenience through new locations such as train and tube stations, airports and lockers.

Geddes said: “There can be little doubt that click-and-collect will drive footfall in-store this Christmas, but it will be up to retailers to get their strategy and execution right to capitalise on the opportunity.

“Increases in sales won’t happen by default; they may require some adjustment of the in-store experience targeting customers that are clicking and collecting.

“However, the real winners will be those retailers that have invested in adapting their supply chain and warehousing to accommodate these changes in consumer shopping behaviour.”