Retailers are expecting a healthy increase in holiday sales this year, but a higher percentage of those sales are expected to occur online than ever before.

Total holiday sales revenue in the U.S. is expected to exceed $1 trillion this year, an increase of roughly 4 percent from from the previous November through January, acccording to the 2016 Deloitte Holiday Survey, conducted by the Deloitte University Press in late October. The survey found that consumers remain bullish about the U.S. economy and said their personal financial conditions have continued to improve. Overall spending on gifts is expected to remain similar to 2015, according to Deloitte.

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Deliotte predicts that the expected surge in online shopping is likely to take the biggest bite out of sales at ‘big box’ stores, traditional malls and local, independent stores. Shutterstock photo

But the increase in online sales is expected to be significant, based on the survey. Deloitte is forecasting a 17 to 19 percent increase in e-commerce sales for the three-month holiday shopping period, an increase of nearly $100 billion. On average, those surveyed said they planned to do about half of their shopping online this holiday season.

Deloitte said retailers should expect record-breaking web traffic this year. Half of the consumers surveyed said they anticipated shopping online for gifts, up from 45 percent in 2014. Online shopping channels now hold a lead of 7 percentage points over the most popular in-store destinations, discount department stores, which have lost some popularity in recent years, according to the survey. Nearly one-third of respondents said they planned to visit traditional department stores this year, continuing a slight upward trend. Roughly one-fourth said they planned to shop at off-price or outlet stores.

Deliotte predicts that the expected surge in online shopping is likely to take the biggest bite out of sales at “big box” stores, traditional malls and local, independent stores, followed by strip malls or mini-malls.

Another interesting statistic is that 86 percent of those surveyed said they planned to do advance research their intended purchases before heading out to shop at a brick-and-mortar retailer.