Study: Online Holiday Buyers Will Triple in 1999

The rosy predictions for e-commerce during the holiday shopping season continued Monday with a new study estimating the number
online holiday purchasers this year will triple to 23 million.

The figures are among the findings of a recent survey of 12,000 consumers
conducted by The Boston Consulting Group.

In 1998, 12 percent of Internet users surveyed purchased holiday gifts
online. Based on
consumers’ stated purchase intentions in the survey, BCG projects that 29
percent of online users will make a gift purchase online this holiday season.
Among those who purchased online last year, over 90 percent say they will
purchase the same amount or more in 1999.

Many consumers will be making their first online purchase this holiday
season. The research shows that the quality of this first online purchase is
key to getting consumers to return to a retailer’s site and increase their
spending. Online consumers who had a satisfying first purchase experience
spent almost twice as much online over the next 12 months as those who didn’t.

“The research shows that the first purchase is a key moment of truth,” said
David Pecaut, senior vice president at BCG and co-leader of its e-commerce practice.

“There is a direct link between a satisfying first purchase
experience and how much consumers spend online. With so many first-time purchases happening during the next six weeks, it is critical that online
retailers deliver a flawless end-to-end purchase experience this holiday season.”

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