Internet's Convenience to Attract More Holiday Shoppers, DoubleClick Says

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While consumers won't be spending more money this holiday season, the convenience of Internet shopping will drive more shoppers to this channel than ever before, according to a survey by DoubleClick. The survey was released yesterday as part of DoubleClick's Consumer Holiday Purchase Intent Study.

DoubleClick, New York, had Nielsen//NetRatings conduct the survey during the first week of November. A total of 613 consumers offered their opinions as they left e-commerce sites. The survey found that shoppers plan to spend about the same amount of money on holiday shopping this year as they did last year.

Twenty-eight percent of the respondents said they plan to spend $251-$500 on their holiday shopping, while 19 percent will spend $501-$750. Less than 5 percent expect to spend $100 or less, and 13 percent have set a $101-$250 range. Three groups of big spenders, all at 12 percent of the respondents, will spend $751-$1,000, $1,001-$1,500 or more than $1,500.

Six percent fewer shoppers expect to make purchases in retail stores compared to last year, for a total of 84 percent. Also, 15 percent more shoppers plan to buy online than last year for a total of 64 percent. Thirty percent also plan to buy via catalog, mail or phone, a 3 percent increase over last year.

The most popular reasons expressed for the shift online were "ease of purchase" and the ability to "learn about a new product." Price finished in third place. Other factors cited include "better sales promotions" and "better product selection."

The study also revealed that consumers shop the Internet differently depending on the category in which they are interested. For example, 51 percent said they researched the home electronics category online, while only 18 percent researched jewelry. However, electronics had the lowest "research to purchase intent" ratio at 52.9 percent.

The category with the highest ratio was music, movies and books, which came in at 85.4 percent. Other ratios included: computer hardware and software, 75 percent; toys and games, 73.5 percent; clothing and accessories, 70.7 percent; home décor and gifts, 65.5 percent; jewelry, 55.6 percent; food and wine, 54.5 percent; and beauty, 54.5 percent.

The majority of respondents shifting their shopping habits to online were female with annual incomes topping $50,000.

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