Holiday online shopping to surge

(3 ON YOUR SIDE) -

The holiday shopping frenzy is kicking into high gear with the average consumer expected to spend more than $960. That's up 3.4 percent from a year ago.

But that's not all, according to financial coach Kelsa Dickey. Most of that money will be spent shopping online.

"According to the National Retail Federation, this year they are expecting online shopping to exceed brick and mortar shopping for the very first time ever," Dickey said.

[SLIDESHOW: Your guide to Black Friday deals, links, and store hours]

Dickey’s office is here in the Phoenix area and teaches consumers how to stay fiscally fit. The report that was released by the NRF shows that 59 percent of holiday spending will be done online compared to 57 percent who plan to shop at a department store.

With retailers like Walmart, Target, Best Buy and Amazon offering free shipping, Dickey says that's a huge incentive for shoppers.

"Amazon purchases are growing, delivery right to your door is getting faster. I think consumer confidence in these types of services is sort of a normal everyday thing is just strengthening," Dickey said.

[RELATED: Black Friday 2017: When will the stores open?]

If you're one of the many consumers who will be shopping online this holiday season, Dickey says you have to be careful. There are rogue websites designed to look like legitimate retailers and the web is the perfect place for scammers to hide. Still, many consumers say online shopping is just too convenient to pass up.

[RELATED: Target's Black Friday ad debuts with deals]

"I think if you're not careful there are definitely some pros and cons to online shopping. One of the pros is that you can very quickly shop around right online sitting at your computer instead of going to five different stores," Dickey said.

In an attempt to keep some consumers from abandoning brick and mortar stores altogether, some retailers will be offering sales that are only available in their stores.

So, be sure to check your favorite store's Black Friday flyer and Dickey reminds consumers to look for advertisements that say "in-store only" in the fine print before you make any purchase.

[READ MORE: Phoenix financial expert divulges strategy for Black Friday shopping]

"It's always best in whichever form you actually do the shopping to try and plan ahead to verify the prices, research prices, how you can get the best price," she said.

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Copyright 2017 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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