Shopping at the Speed of Click
Dee Kong will not step foot in one store this year. He's planning to spend his entire holiday budget of $2000 online.
"My job keeps me busy during the week. I have late hours. By the time I get off work, I am either too tired or the stores are closing," said the 35-year old finance manager. "I don't need to walk from store to store, deal with the crowds and possibly come up empty handed or worse settle on a sub par gift."
Kong is just one example of the record number of people turning to the web at click warp speed.
"Online shopping continues to gain strength, even in the face of current economic headwinds," said ComScore Chairman & Co-Founder Gian Fulgoni.
ComScore measures U.S. e-commerce using its two million person online consumer panel. They passively observe how consumers browse through the internet - including their e-commerce transactions.
Fulgoni said, "While we have not yet released our official holiday season forecast, the current environment suggests we are likely to see sales growth rates in the mid-to-upper teens when measured versus year ago."
A big driver behind the growth? Smartphones.
With two out of five consumers now owning them, Fulgoni said they phones are beginning to play a very disruptive role in both e-commerce and the in-store experience. His company finds two-thirds of smartphone owners use the devices to search for better prices and tax-free sites. Think Amazon- at least for this season.
"Amazon's tax-free days are numbered. Next holiday may look different for market share opportunities. The change would be a big help to Walmart, Best Buy and Costco for the electronics category," said SW Retail Advisors' President & CNBC Contributor Stacey Widlitz.
In the meantime, Widlitz said retailers are being more clever by trying to integrate the online spending experience with their actual stores in order to compete with sites such as Amazon. For example, Walmart is adding pop up stores in California in order to drive traffic to its website.
"Macy's is also another great example of a retailer assigning more importance online. This year, they started free shipping in the third quarter versus the fourth quarter of last year," said Widlitz.
The offensive move is drawing in consumers like Kong. He isn't waiting for Cyber Monday deals to do his holiday shopping. In fact, he's already bought about a quarter of his gifts online - so he has more time to spend on more "festive" things this season.
Stephanie is Squawk Box producer. Follow her on twitter @StephLandsman
Questions? Comments? Email us atNetNet@cnbc.com
Follow NetNet on Twitter @ twitter.com/CNBCnetnet
Facebook us @ www.facebook.com/NetNetCNBC