Nielsen: 31% Have Finished Online Holiday Buying

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Nearly 42 million online shoppers, or 31 percent of the population nationwide with Internet connectivity, already have completed the holiday shopping they will do over the Internet.


The findings, part of a weekly report from Goldman, Sachs & Co., Harris Interactive and Nielsen//NetRatings, revealed that excluding travel, consumers last week spent $2.7 billion online. This was an 18 percent weekly increase and an 85 percent jump from the year-ago period.


"With Hanukkah beginning three weeks later this year as compared to last year and retailers extending shipping deadlines, we're looking forward to continued growth and a solid overall holiday season," Nielsen//NetRatings senior analyst Abha Bhagat said in a statement.


In that report, another 46 percent of shoppers claimed they had started their online shopping. Only 24 percent reported having not begun their online holiday shopping, according to the survey conducted Nov. 29 to Dec. 5.


The survey of 800 to 1,700 online shoppers randomly chosen from Harris' online panel of survey respondents showed a high degree of customer satisfaction with their Internet shopping experience this year.


For example, 38 percent said they prefer shopping online rather than in stores to avoid crowds. Thirty-five percent cited item prices being lower on the Internet as the reason for shopping online. Twenty-eight percent said it was easier to compare products and prices online as well as more convenient than traveling to stores.


Finally, 26 percent noted the wider selection of products available on the Internet for why they bought online.


Overall, 42 percent said they were very satisfied with the 2003 holiday shopping season, a 10 percentage-point increase over last year.


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