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Holiday Shoppers Continue to Shift Purchases Online for Convenience
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Holiday Shoppers Continue to Shift Purchases Online for Convenience

American consumers will continue to shift their gift buying online this holiday season, citing convenience, time saving, and price according to Nielsen Online. Amid the current economic downturn, 53% of consumers cite price as a reason to buy online, compared with 46% last year. However, convenience continues to trump price as 76% of consumers cite the ability to shop 24 hours a day and 74% cite time saving as key factors for choosing online shopping.

The results are based on a Nielsen Online survey, conducted November 6-11, intended to gauge online consumers’ holiday shopping plans for 2008.

Top 10 Reasons to Shop Online (U.S.)

RANK Reasons To Shop Online % Of Respondents
1 Able to shop 24 hours a day 76%
2 Saves time 74%
3 Avoiding crowds 65%
4 Saves gas 59%
5 Sales/Discounts/Promotions 55%
6 Low prices 53%
7 Comparison shopping 48%
8 Selection 40%
9 Available product information 37%
10 Items are in stock 37%
Source: Nielsen Online, Pre-holiday Survey, November 2008

Holiday Gift Dollars Shifting Online

Survey results indicate that holiday gift budgets are shifting online. Respondents said that they would spend an increased percent of their holiday shopping budget online, an average of 41 percent compared to 39 percent last year. And more respondents indicated that they would spend the majority of their holiday gift budgets online, up to 36 percent from 32 percent a year ago.

Prospects For Growth

More consumers plan to make purchases in the “Toys & Video Games” and “Books” categories this holiday season than last. The top three retailers when ranked by the year-over-year increase in respondents intending to shop there this season were: Amazon, Wal-Mart and Barnes & Noble.

“We believe holiday online sales will grow from 2007, but likely at a single-digit rate and representing the smallest increase we’ve seen since the online commerce market was born,” said Ken Cassar, vice president of industry insights, Nielsen Online. “If there is a silver lining, it is that consumers continue to view the online channel’s principal value proposition as convenience, more than price, allowing retailers the opportunity to differentiate on service and selection.”

Black Friday And Beyond

Throughout the upcoming holiday shopping season, which officially commences with Black Friday on Nov. 28, Nielsen Online will report weekly – and, in some cases, daily – online audience data for top online shopping destinations as well as for its annual Holiday eShopping Index.

Download Nielsen Online’s full press release.