Study: Online Purchasing, Browsing Influencing Spending in Traditional Stores

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Internet users in the United States estimate they will spend just over $300 online and an additional $300 in brick-and-mortar stores as a result of online shopping, according to a study released yesterday by Andersen Consulting, New York.

"This holiday season, a Web site ceases to be a nice addition or an experimental marketing channel for leading retailers," said Angela Selden, retail practice managing partner for North America at Andersen Consulting. "Instead, as e-tailers claim a significant share of the consumer wallet for gift purchases, it has become an imperative."

According to the study:

• Fifty percent of U.S. Internet users said they plan to purchase at least one holiday gift online, compared with 36 percent who reported having done so in 1999.

• The percentage of Internet users who say they will not purchase holiday gifts online this year plummeted by almost two-thirds -- from 33 percent in 1999 to 13 percent.

• Almost nine out of 10 holiday shoppers (88 percent) will spend as much or more online for the holidays this year as they did in 1999, and 39 percent predicted an increase in the amount of their online purchases over the 1999 holiday shopping season.

• Eleven percent of respondents said they will buy more than half of all their gifts online.

• Consumers indicate a willingness to make purchases beyond small-ticket items. Nineteen percent plan to purchase an individual gift priced at $200 or more on the Internet, and 6 percent will make an online individual gift purchase of $500 or more.

"We're no longer looking at a slow-growing trend," Selden said. "For the first time, retailers who haven't created a compelling Web destination may be blindsided by stiff competition from the Internet this holiday season. Next year, the damage could be devastating. We believe that, for retailers, the die is now cast. To be successful, you must be a winner both off- and online."

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