It's the moment brick-and-mortar retailers have been dreading.
As shoppers shift a greater chunk of their spending toward the web, consumers for the first time this holiday will allocate an equal amount of their budgets toward online and physical stores.
While that shift should help boost traditional retailers' digital revenues, it will nonetheless help web-based companies extend their lead over physical stores and shopping centers — gobbling up more of their market share in the process.
It will also make it costlier for bricks-and-mortar players to effectively compete, as they swallow additional expenses related to shipping and logistics. Those investments are becoming ever more important as customers demand more from retailers, including shorter delivery windows for their online orders.
According to Deloitte's holiday survey, released Wednesday, shoppers plan to spend 47 percent of their budgets online, and 47 percent in stores. The remaining 6 percent will be put toward other channels, such as catalogs.
This is the first time consumers told Deloitte that their budgets would be split equally between the two largest channels. When the firm first asked the question two years ago, 52 percent of consumer spending was allocated toward stores, while just 40 percent went toward online.
Deloitte's 2016 results were based on a survey of more than 5,000 shoppers.
"Every retail location, every physical address, was down," said Rod Sides, who leads Deloitte's retail and distribution unit. "The consumer seems to have turned a corner and is as happy shopping online as they are in a store."