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RealTime IT News

We Came, We Saw, We Did a Little E-Shopping

The last two weeks in November marked the biggest weeks so far this year for median weekly online spending for the average American as holiday shopping began in earnest, according to a report from Goldman Sachs, Harris Interactive and Nielsen//NetRatings.

In fact, the report says 25 percent of online shoppers are already finished with their gift buying.

And weekly online consumer spending has jumped an estimated 34 percent since the beginning of the holiday season, the report says. In fact, the average American online shopper spent $77 on the Internet during the week after Thanksgiving, and about $81 the week after that.

The number of Internet users who bought online increased to 18 percent for the last week in November, as compared to 11 percent during the first week of the month.

"Sales and special promotions during the last two weeks in November helped increase the average dollar amount spent online by shoppers," said Lori Iventosch-James, director of e-commerce research at Harris Interactive.

"The next two weeks are critical for e-tailers as shipping deadlines draw near for shoppers," she said. "As we move into the latter half of the online holiday season, online stores will pull out all stops to move inventory, enticing shoppers with last-minute sales and deep discounts."

Not surprisingly, the eSpending Report revealed that brick-and-mortar retailers continue to dominate in attracting shoppers, with consumers saying they expect to spend 79 percent of their holiday shopping budget at physical stores.

Consumer shopping budgets targeted for online sites increased year-over-year, with shoppers surveyed saying they plan to spend 15 percent of their holiday gift budget at e-commerce Web sites this season, compared to 13 percent spent in 2000. Shoppers said they intend to spend less this year buying holiday gifts through catalogs, marking 6 percent of their budget for catalog orders.

"The online channel is a significant, and growing component of the holiday economy in the United States," said Sean Kaldor, vice president of analytical services at NetRatings. "While only 1 to2 percent of (all) U.S. retail spending is on the Web, consumers expect to spend 15 percent of their holiday budget online."

The eSpending Report by Goldman Sachs, Harris Interactive and Nielsen//NetRatings is based on a weekly national survey of 500 online shoppers randomly chosen from Harris Interactive's multi-million-member panel of Internet users. The survey data is weighted to represent the online population and has an overall precision of +/- 4.4 percent.