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January 10, 2001
Holiday Shopping Trends
Here's a summary of consumers' online shopping patterns this holiday season

Now that the holiday shopping season is over, a variety of market research companies are telling the world what happened online in 2000. Overall, online shopping was up 40% - 50% for the year, and online sales totaled anywhere from $40 billion to $60 billion, depending on which survey you believe.

According to the E-Commerce Times and Princeton Survey Research Associates, this is what online Americans did this holiday season:

  • 45% used the Internet to look for gifts
  • 32% compared prices online
  • 24% abandoned their online shopping carts
  • 24% actually made purchases online
Of those who actually bought gifts online:
  • 21% did all their holiday shopping online
  • 34% said they bought someone a gift they weren't planning on buying before going online
  • 79% said shopping online saved them time
  • Most spent an average of $330 (eMarketer estimates this number is closer to $285)
Online Americans who didn't shop online during the holiday season cited many common reasons for not making virtual purchases:
  • 85% say they like to see merchandise in stores before buying
  • 79% don't want to send credit card information over the Internet
  • 52% think they can find better prices in stores or catalogs
  • 41% found some Web sites made online shopping confusing
Overall, this holiday season was a success online. Most of last year's problems, including poor customer service and late delivery, were tackled in advance, and most large e-commerce sites ran smoothly. According to eMarketer, online sales for 2001 are expected to increase by at least 57% over 2000's sales. The company says the overall state of the economy will have the largest impact on online spending though. If overall spending decreases more than is expected, online sales won't increase as rapidly.

- by Julia M. Duncan