RealTime IT News

Study: Holiday Shoppers to Spend $9.5 Billion Online

A new survey released Tuesday predicts e-tailers will see stellar results during the upcoming shopping season: the number of online holiday shoppers is expected to grow 25 percent, representing purchases worth $9.5 billion.

The ecommercePulse Online Holiday '99 survey conducted by Net researchers Harris Interactive polled more than 5000 respondents and found that:

  • 77.6 percent of Internet users plan to use the Web to either buy directly online or to research products.

  • 44.7 percent of those surveyed plan to "use the Internet to gather information on products and services, but plan to make purchases offline."

  • 32.9 percent of the current Web population expects to "purchase at least one product" over the Internet this year, compared to just 8 percent of the current online audience who bought products online during the last holiday season.

  • Women will be the lead Net consumers; they are six times more likely to buy online this holiday season than last year. Researchers found 4.9% of the current online female audience bought online last season, while 29.2 percent of the present female online sector plans to e-shop during the '99 holiday season.

Harris Interactive also projected that based on the assumption that the average amount of money spent online in '99 will be constant with 1998's figure of $297 per purchaser, the current online population of 32 million is planning to purchase nearly $9.5 billion online

Among the estimated growth projections for 16 online vertical markets, the fastest growth is expected to be in the toys and electronics segment, and also in the sports/fitness equipment category. Emerging markets during the upcoming holidays will include gardening equipment/supplies, household, and wine and spirits.

Top dog among the season's e-tailers is projected to be Amazon.com (AMZN), based on the results of survey respondents who plan to make holiday e-buys. The mega-seller is positioned as first or second in four vertical markets: auctions, No. 2 (behind eBay) (EBAY); books, No. 1; electronics, No. 2 (following Best Buy) and music, No. 1.

"Amazon's investment in branding and positioning itself as the leading online e-commerce site has enabled them to march into other markets and command market share almost instantaneously," said Ben Black, vice president of business development at Harris Interactive.

"Amazon should also capture at least 10 percent of the online toys market during the holiday season, with Toys-R-Us and eToys commanding the greatest share," Black said.