Survey: Web Ranks as Preferred Holiday Shopping Channel

Chicago/Cambridge, Mass. Results from the third-annual survey of multichannel shopping preferences indicate that, for the first time, more people plan to do their shopping online this holiday season than in stores.

Forty-nine percent of consumers surveyed preferred the Web and 44% indicated they plan to shop at bricks-and-mortar locations.

Reasons cited by respondents for preferring the online channel included saving time (88%), locating hard-to-find products (84%), greater selection (83%), avoiding mall crowds (83%) and saving money (80%).

The survey, conducted by Chicago-based e-tailing group and sponsored by the Art Technology Group of Cambridge, Mass., included more than 1,000 adults who shopped online four or more times in the last year and who spend more than $500 annually on gifts.

Additional findings concluded that 52% of consumers are planning to buy fewer gifts this holiday season and they plan to spend less on the gifts they do purchase. However, 91% of the respondents said their online holiday-shopping habits will be either the same volume as last year or they will potentially buy more gifts online this year. Seventy-two percent, compared to 65% last year, said they will research products online prior to making purchases.

The top influences for online purchases included promotions, specifically free shipping and sales, search efficiencies and customer service. Seventy-eight percent said the No. 1 reason for not making an online purchase was the high cost of shipping.

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