Deloitte Digital Study: Digitally-Influenced Sales in Retail Brick-and-Mortar Stores to Reach $2.2 Trillion by Year-end

Digitally-influenced sales are five times larger than e-commerce sales; Consumers use of mobile for price checking declines 30 percent

May 13, 2015, 08:00 ET from Deloitte Digital

NEW YORK, May 13, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Digital interactions are expected to influence 64 cents of every dollar spent in retail stores by the end of 2015, or $2.2 trillion, according to Deloitte Digital's latest study, "Navigating the New Digital Divide." This figure has grown considerably from 14 cents of each dollar spent in brick-and-mortar stores in 2012, the first year Deloitte Digital conducted the annual study.

Deloitte Digital defines "digital influence" as the percentage of traditional brick-and-mortar retail sales impacted by shoppers' use of digital devices[i]. Deloitte Digital has also identified a growing digital divide where consumers' digital behaviors and retailers' ability to deliver on those consumer expectations continue to diverge.  

"Retailers often use the wrong metric – e-commerce sales – to indicate whether their digital strategy is working," said Kasey Lobaugh, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP and Deloitte Digital's chief retail innovation officer. "Last year, e-commerce sales represented $300 billion, or just seven percent, of total retail sales, while digitally-influenced store sales were over five times higher, topping $1.7 trillion. Retailers that prioritize and design digital functionality with the sole purpose of driving sales in the e-commerce channel marginalize the consumer experience and risk ceding authority to competitors."

Marketplace volatility in the retail sector further amplifies the significance of capturing and accurately measuring digitally-influenced sales. Deloitte Digital's research indicates that, in the last five years, the top 25 established retailers have lost 2 percent of their combined market share, which equates to $64 billion, while smaller players that have entered the market with digital at their core have multiplied. Lobaugh added, "We are seeing a real change in the competitive dynamics, with digital as the great equalizer. The findings indicate that the large retailers are collectively losing ground to the much smaller competitors."

While the upward trend in overall digital usage has accelerated, this year's study uncovered dramatic new behaviors. Among consumers who use digital devices to shop:

Mobile influence is up, but price checking is down: Consumers surveyed indicated they are 30 percent less likely to use smartphones to perform price comparisons in-store than they were a year ago. This decline occurred while the influence of smartphones alone on in-store sales rose to 28 percent in 2014, up from 19 percent the prior year.  Consumers are advancing in their sophistication – using mobile more often for inspiration and idea generation earlier in their shopping process, and not simply as a price comparison vehicle. 

Digitally-influenced consumers buy more and spend more: Consumers who use digital while they shop convert at a 20 percent higher rate compared to those who do not use such devices. Consumers that access social media during the shopping process are four times more likely to spend more, and almost one-third (29 percent) of those surveyed are more likely to make a purchase the same day they turn to social media before or during their shopping trip.

Hispanic and Latino consumers are highly digitally-influenced: Nearly half (49 percent) of Hispanic and Latino consumers use social media during their shopping journey, compared to 32 percent across all ethnic groups. Additionally, 41 percent of Hispanic and Latino consumers indicate they spend more in the store due to digital activities, compared to 28 percent of all consumers surveyed.

Not all categories are equal: Digital behavior has evolved across all categories, most notably baby/toddler and home furnishings. The digital influence in the baby/toddler category jumped from 39 percent to 52 percent in one year, and now accounts for more than half of all brick-and-mortar sales in that sector.   Additionally, 56 percent of consumers shopping baby/toddler items consult social media for assistance. In the home furnishings category, nearly 4 in 10 consumers (38 percent) indicate they spend more when using their devices in the shopping process.  

Consumers are hunters, not gatherers, once they arrive at the store. Nearly 8 in 10 consumers (76 percent) surveyed interact with brands or products before arriving at the store. Shoppers now make buying decisions at other points in the shopping journey, where they find ideas and inspiration, research product information, validate performance through reviews, and even make purchases online to pick up in store.

"Instead of measuring moments that matter during the shopping journey, retailers continue to focus on measuring the buy button – the point at which they actually have the least influence," said Jeff Simpson, director, Deloitte Consulting LLP and co-author of the study. "Retailers that simply track channel sales and fail to measure the influence of digital along the entire path to purchase can miss key indicators of performance and customer behavior. Retailers should focus on designing and building customer experiences that play to how their customers are shopping for their products – rather than direct consumers to the point of purchase if what they really seek is inspiration or information."

For more information about the study, please visit: Follow at @DeloitteCB on Twitter, #RetailDigitalDivide.

About the Study
The survey was commissioned by Deloitte and conducted online by an independent research company between Nov. 21-26, 2014 and Jan. 13-20, 2015. The survey polled a national sample of 3,016 consumers. Data were collected and weighted to be representative of the U.S. Census for gender, age, income, and ethnicity. The national random sample and sample of device owners have a margin of error of plus or minus one to two percentage points; the samples of smartphone owners and tablet owners have a margin of error of plus or minus two to three percentage points. Additionally, a subset of consumers were randomly assigned to provide information about how they use a digital device to shop for up to two different product subcategories (such as Shoes, Books and Music, etc.) with a margin of error of plus or minus seven to nine percent.  Specific digital behavior data represents consumers who use digital devices to shop.

About Deloitte's Retail and Distribution Practice
Deloitte is a leading presence in the retail and distribution industry, providing audit, consulting, risk management, financial advisory and tax services to more than 75 percent of the Fortune 500 retailers. With more than 2,400 professionals, Deloitte's retail and distribution practice provides insights, services and approaches designed to assist retailers across all major subsectors including apparel, grocery, food and drug, wholesale and distribution and online. For more information about Deloitte's retail and distribution sector, please visit

About Deloitte Digital
From strategy to delivery, Deloitte Digital combines cutting-edge creative with trusted business and technology experience to define and deliver digital solutions. Deloitte Digital creates digital experiences for the connected enterprise, delivering strategy, mobile, social, web, cloud and digital content management solutions designed to help strengthen clients' brands and evolve their businesses. For more information, please visit Follow us on Twitter @DeloitteDigi_US or @DeloitteDigital.

As used in this document, "Deloitte" means Deloitte Consulting LLP, a subsidiary of Deloitte LLP. Please see for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.

[i] The digital influence factor refers to the percentage of in-store retail sales influenced by the shopper's use of a digital device including: desktop and laptop computers, smartphones, tablets, wearable devices and in-store devices (i.e., kiosk, mobile payment device).

Photo -
Logo -

SOURCE Deloitte Digital