Survey: Back-to-School Shoppers Going Online

A new survey shows that more than half of Internet users are ready to try
shopping online as an alternative to the traditional back-to-school trek, and
are open to purchasing items such as computers, clothing and school supplies
over the Web.

The ebates.com Back-to-School Shopping Report — conducted by
MarketFacts and commissioned by
cash-back shopping portal ebates.com — polled more than 600 Internet
users nationwide to pinpoint their biggest aversions to back-to-school
shopping and their willingness to try online shopping as an alternative.

About 64 percent said they were open to buying back-to-school items —
clothing, computers, school supplies and the like — on the Internet.

More than 35 percent indicated they are “highly likely” to head to the Internet
for back-to-school purchases this year.

“The returns aren’t in yet, but this back-to-school shopping season may prove
to be the late-summer equivalent of last December’s e-Christmas phenomenon,”
said Paul Wasserman, president of ebates.com.

Of those Internet users most likely to shop online for back-to-school items,
computer gear (51 percent) edged school supplies (49 percent) and clothing
(48 percent) as the merchandise of choice.

Hardware is somewhat of a gender issue, the survey found. Although women are
increasingly active online shoppers, they are less likely than men to
purchase a computer online.

Nearly half of the women polled said they were not open to buying a PC via
the Web, compared to 36 percent of the men.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the younger the Internet shopper, the more likely
they are to make back-to-school purchases online. Respondents ages 18 to 24 (50
percent) are the most likely to buy online, followed by those in the 35-to-44
bracket (47 percent), while seniors, 65 and up (24 percent), are least likely
to do so.

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