Almost half of physical shop sales will be digitally influenced this year, according to research from Deloitte.
The study found customers will use some form of digital technology to inform or facilitate a purchase for 40% of sales in bricks and mortar stores (equivalent to £15bn) in December.
Deloitte attributed this to growing consumer engagement with digital technology, combined with a growing number of retailers adopting a multichannel model.
Total retail sales are expected to increase 4% year-on-year to hit £42.4bn in December this year, which is over £1.5bn more than Christmas 2013.
Online sales are forecast to account for 13% of total sales, which equates to 50% of the market growth.
“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,” said Ian Geddes, head of retail at Deloitte.
“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.”
Click-and-collect is expected to account for 45% of all online transactions this Christmas, which is almost double the level seen in December 2013.
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 upon 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.”