Digital retailing is going to play a key part in the in-store shopping experience this Christmas, with new research from business advisory firm Deloitte estimating that 40% of physical shop sales will be "digitally influenced".

The term "digitally influenced" means consumers will use some form of digital technology to inform or facilitate their purchase, and Deloitte says it will represent £15 billion of festive sales in 2014, which is almost three times the size of estimated online sales for December. 

Overall sales in December are forecast to rise 4% year-on-year to £42.4 billion – over £1.5 billion more than Christmas 2013 – while online sales are expected to account for 13% of total sales.

Ian Geddes, head of retail at Deloitte, commented: "Growth in the influence of digital on physical retail has been driven by consumers' desire to access information on products and services, compare prices and increasingly pay and transact via digital devices."

The rise of click & collect as a convenient method of picking up online orders means that £2.5 billion of this Christmas's retail sales will be ordered online and collected in-store, according to the study. At 45% of all online transactions, this is almost double the level seen one year before.  

"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," Geddes added.

"Just as physical retailers have benefited from the growth of click & 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."

This coming weekend is expected to kick-start the annual Christmas spending rush, with a Centre of Retail Research survey, commissioned by Vouchercodes.co.uk owner RetailMeNot, predicting that Britons will spend £6,435 per second on Monday 1 December.

Dubbed 'Cyber Monday' and marking the first Monday after what will typically be consumers' final pay cheque before Christmas, the research said the UK will spend £556 million online over the course of the day as shoppers try and complete their digital orders well ahead of retailers' Christmas delivery cut-off dates.

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Deloitte UK

RetailMeNot