Shoppers Say Internet Valuable Research Tool; Predict Increase in Online Spending for 2005 Holiday Season

According to a recent Prospectiv Consumer Preference Index (CPI), consumers, undaunted by the hustle and bustle of the holiday shopping season, are still making most of their holiday buys in-store. But, CPI found that many shoppers are opting to do much of the legwork online. While 89% of consumers polled said they prefer to make mostly in-store holiday purchases, 71% said they intend to use the Internet to research and compare products and prices before heading out to malls, department stores and discount stores.

In addition to doing shopping research online, 35% of consumers said they will increase online spending for gifts this year, according to CPI. Fifty-five percent of shoppers said they make their online holiday purchases earlier than in-store purchases.

The convenience of shopping from home or the office, 24/7, is the number one reason for gift buying online, said 57% of online shoppers polled. Nineteen percent of online consumers shop via the Internet to avoid the holiday crowds.

Not surprisingly, 45% of shoppers said free shipping would encourage them to make more online purchases. Thirty-six percent of respondents cited better sales and online special offers or discounts targeted to their preferences as the top incentives that would increase their amount of shopping online.

In-store shoppers are also looking for better deals. Sixty-five percent of consumers said more in-store sales would be an incentive to increase their purchasing.

"Even though the majority of consumers plan to make their holiday purchases in-store this season, the data shows effective marketers should use online marketing to drive consumers to their retail location," said Jere Doyle, president and CEO, Prospectiv (Woburn, Mass).

Although most consumers will spend the same or more on holiday shopping compared to last year, 65% will be spending less than they would have due to rising prices at the gas pump and expected increases in home-heating bills.

Source: Prospectiv

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