The upcoming holiday season is shaping up to be a good one for retailers, with shoppers expecting to spend $1,496 per household, according to Deloitte’s 34th annual holiday survey of consumer spending intentions and trends.

Online shopping will dominate once again, with people surveyed expecting to spend 59 percent of their holiday budget online. Shoppers also report to no longer separate online from in-store shopping experiences. Rather consumers now conduct research and purchasing in two correlated transactions.

“What is most fascinating is that we are also seeing an increase in the number of people who are using their phones not just to research products and discounts, but to ultimately make purchases,” said Rod Sides, vice chairman, Deloitte LLP, and U.S. leader, retail, wholesale and distribution. “In fact, 70 percent of smartphone users said they will use their phone to make a purchase this holiday season.”

Up from 66 percent in 2018, 69 percent of respondents say they will research online and make the purchase in-store. And 57 percent of respondents say they will research in-store to then make a purchase online. Within retail, clothing and accessories are set to see the largest holiday spend.

Meanwhile, contrary to years prior, respondents report the bulk of holiday spending this year will go to experiences and celebrations, including entertaining at home, traveling and eating at restaurants, outweighing gifts in spending category. High-spenders account for 71 percent of dollars to be spent on holiday travel, restaurants and hotels. Additionally, more than a quarter of holiday spending will go to socializing away from home.

Further, across all categories, promotions remain a holiday favorite with 81 percent of consumers reporting being susceptible to influence over discounts. “Every year respondents tell us that the most important factor is discounts,” Sides said. “This year that tops out with not just promotions, but also free shipping.”

Free shipping is at the top of shoppers’ discount wish list with 85 percent choosing free shipping over fast shipping. Discounts are also the number-one benefit to shoppers in sharing personal data — over three times more enticing than receiving personalized product offerings. Even with incentives to share, consumers remain wary of privacy when sharing data with 79 percent of shoppers reporting concern for data breaches.

Deloitte recently published a full report with further insights on the consumer’s viewpoint on sharing data with retailers, as reported by WWD.

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