Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Online Shopping for Holiday Looks like a Bright Spot Companies Catering to Internet Consumers

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Online Shopping for Holiday Looks like a Bright Spot Companies Catering to Internet Consumers

Article excerpt

Online holiday shopping is shaping up to put some economic sparkle on an otherwise dull holiday spending season.

The number of consumers choosing to buy online is increasing every year and is showing more promise for future growth. It is not yet the shining star of the spending season, but is gaining strength.

For the fifth straight year, more shoppers said they plan to make holiday gift purchases online than the previous year, according to the American Express Retail Index.

Online consumers said the 24-hour availability of the Web sites, the ability to save time and shop without hassle are the top reasons to shop on the Internet, according to a survey done by the consulting firm Deloitte & Touche in affiliation with the National Retail Federation.

This year, a 3 percent increase will bump the total percentage of online consumers to 15 percent, the Index said. A whopping 91 percent of the people who have purchased items online previously plan to purchase gifts via the Internet this year, according to the Deloitte survey.

This growing base of consumers with repeat buying habits has analysts and online shopping sites excited.

As far as actual pennies-to-pennies spending, online shoppers spend more. On average, online consumers spend $957 for all of their holiday gifts. Of that total, 28 percent is spent online, according to Deloitte's survey. The average consumer spends only $836 on gifts total. This leaves many analysts optimistic for the future of online shopping.

The number of people on the Internet has doubled in only three years. Usage was high among all age groups, according to the National Retail Federation.

This is good news for retailers who are looking to sponge up some sales from Internet spending by offering their products online.

"Consumers are using the Internet more and more for shopping, and retailers are responding. Retailers are becoming more savvy as they adapt to nuances of the Internet marketplace," said Ed Carey, global leader of the Consumer Business Practice at Deloitte Consulting.

"They are looking to make shopping a more fulfilling experience, and that means putting an emphasis on better serving their customers -- wherever they may be shopping," Carey said. …

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