A new report issued by Deloitte finds that digital technologies influenced nearly half—about 49 percent—of all in-store sales in 2014 for a total of $1.7 trillion, according to MarketingCharts. This is in line with prior projections and, according to Deloitte, is an increase of 36 percent from 2014.

Meanwhile, mobile’s influence has seen rapid growth, which was expected and which impacted 28 percent of in-store sales in 2014. Mobile accounted for approximately 57 percent of digital’s impact, according the Deloitte report. The study also found that Digital’s influence remains the strongest in electronic and home furnishings. In fact, some 64 percent of in-store sales are expected to be influenced by digital technologies in 2015.

Deloitte defines the “Digital influence factor” as “the percentage of in-store retail sales influenced by the shopper’s use of any digital device, including: desktop computers, laptops, netbooks, tablets, smartphones, wearables devices and in-store devices (i.e., kiosk, mobile payment device).” DeLoitte defines the so-called “Mobile influence factor” as “the percentage of in-store retail sales influenced by the shopper’s use of a web-enabled mobile device, including smartphones.”

Kasey Lobaugh, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP and Deloitte Digital’s chief retail innovation officer said that, the study revealed that retailers do not often fully understand the efficacy of digital strategies because they are more focused on “channel-specific sales” as opposed to looking at how digital connections influence sales inside their stores, RetailSolutionsOnline reported. “Retailers often use the wrong metric—e-commerce sales—to indicate whether their digital strategy is working,” Lobaugh added, according to recent Deloitte release. “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.”

The report is entitled, “Navigating the New Digital Divide: Capitalizing on digital influence in retail,” and involved a survey of thousands of consumers to obtain a clearer understanding of how consumers engaged with digital when they shopped and how this engagement impacted their in-store shopping behaviors. Of note, the study found that, as the digital influence increases, the divide between consumers’ digital expectations and the retailers’ ability to meet these expectations also increases, according to Deloitte Digital.

Deloitte Digital also wrote that the study found that:

  • Consumers who use digital during the shopping process tend to convert at a 20 percent increased rate when compared to consumers who do not utilize digital when shopping.
  • Digital influence varies. For example, 31 percent for food and beverage; 62 percent for electronics.
  • Most consumers—76 percent or about 8 in 10—who were surveyed indicated that they interact with brands or products prior to entering the store, thus making digitally influenced choices much sooner in the shopping process.

The report concludes that retailers should not consider the moment when a consumer presses “buy” as the most important moment, according to Deloitte Digital. “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,” Deloitte Consulting LLP director and study co-author Jeff Simpson indicated in the release. “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.”

Simpson suggests that, “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.”


Digital Estimated to Influence Half of In-Store Retail Sales; May 15, 2015; by MarketingCharts staff.

Study Shows Digital Influence On Retail Growing At Rapid Pace; May 18, 2015; By Christine Kern.

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; Deloitte Digital via PRNewsWire.