Online shopping has been growing in popularity for years, but this holiday shopping season, e-commerce is expected to take an exponential leap because of COVID-19, according to a report from Deloitte.

Deloitte’s holiday 2020 retail outlook states overall spending for this season is expected to drop 18 per cent to an average of $1,405 from $1,706 in 2019. But within that budget, there is a greater amount earmarked for online shopping, which bodes well for companies like Inc.

While overall, Canadians are planning on spending less, 44 per cent of their budget will be allocated to online shopping, up from 36 per cent last year. Of those shoppers, 66 per cent plan to make a purchase on Amazon, and 25 per cent expect to spend the biggest portion of their budget on the e-commerce giant’s website.

"Holiday shopping is not going to be viewed as a fun experience this season, but rather as a task to be completed as quickly, efficiently, and safely as possible,” Marty Weintraub, retail leader at Deloitte Canada, said in a release.

According to the poll, Canadians still place a value on the in-store shopping experience, and want to support local businesses, but 64 per cent cite COVID-19 as a reason to avoid physical stores.

Despite the fast-growing popularity of online shopping, Weintraub doesn’t think traditional retailers should pack it in, adding that those that can address consumers' concerns around health and safety, while still delivering an engaging customer experience, will still bring customers in.

Deloitte’s findings are based on a survey conducted in September of 1,000 Canadians across age groups, financial situations and geographic locations.