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More Shoppers Spending More

Holiday shopping was robust across the board this year, as consumers spent more money at stores and online.

According to a new survey by KPMG, the audit, tax and advisory firm, more than half of consumers reported making at least one purchase over the Internet.

Nearly 40 percent of those surveyed said they spent at least the same amount of money as last year, and 26 percent said they spent less to buy holiday presents.

Shoppers said the greatest motivation for making purchases were price, selection and convenience, according to the survey of 840 random households from Dec. 10 to Dec. 21.

Online holiday shoppers spent more than ever this year: E-commerce sites rang up over $30.1 billion during the weeks leading up to Christmas, according to the weekly eSpending report produced by Goldman Sachs, Nielsen//NetRatings and Harris Interactive.

In-store shoppers showed no loyalty, KPMG found.

"Consumers voted with their feet," John Rittenhouse, national partner in charge of KPMG's Operations Risk Management practice, said in a statement. "They buy what they want, when it's offered at a fair price and close to home."

While 40 percent of consumers spent more money in a different store this year than they had in the past, the 18-to-34 age group was most likely to make such a change, and half of those who shopped in a different store said selection was the primary motivator for the change.

"This also suggests that retailers may be better off targeting customers within a few-mile radius of their store locations rather than broadcasting a wider marketing net," Rittenhouse said. "Households with incomes under $49,000 and heads of households under 44 -- largely those groups whom you would expect to be undergoing life changes such as marriage, children, rising income, or possibly a new home -- were the most likely to report spending more this season."

According to the study, respondents were less influenced by customer service or the physical store facility. Traditionally, retailers invest heavily in these areas to differentiate themselves, according to Rittenhouse.

"The Internet continued to attract the most desirable customer," Rittenhouse said in the statement. The higher the income, the more likely someone was to buy on the Internet, according to the study.

For example, people with incomes over $75,000 were twice as likely to use the Internet, compared with people with incomes under $30,000.

"Particularly interesting is that Internet shopping included all age groups to 65, with 53 percent of consumers making Internet purchases," Rittenhouse said.