Nearly 9 out of 10 Internet users--88%--shopped online this past holiday season, up significantly from the previous year’s 78%, Columbus, OH-based consultants Retail Forward’s E-Retail Intelligence Program survey reported today.
But the great deals in stores lured some away from buying on the web, Retail Forward says: 70% of online shoppers made an online gift purchase during the 2001 holiday season, down slightly from 74% a year ago. In 1999, 67% of shoppers bought online. The most common reason mentioned for not making a purchase online was the availability of better prices and deals at stores, says Retail Forward. “Stores promoted early and heavily this holiday season due to the challenging economic environment, luring some value-conscious shoppers away from the online channel,” says Mary Brett Whitfield, director of Retail Forward’s E-Retail Intelligence Program.
But those who shopped online liked the experience. An impressive 72% of online holiday shoppers were satisfied with all of their online holiday gift shopping experiences, a dramatic improvement from 2000 when only 55% felt the same.
Finally, 63% of online holiday purchasers had no problems with their online purchases during the 2001 holiday season. Of those shoppers who did experience problems, not receiving purchases in time for the holidays or needing to pay extra for shipping to ensure an on-time delivery were each mentioned by 15%. Another 8% mentioned failure to receive adequate e-mail communications regarding order status and shipment delays as a problem. “As online shopping continues to evolve, only the most efficient operators can survive,” Whitfield says. “During the 2001 holiday shopping season, efficient operators provided online shoppers with higher levels of customer service compared to prior years, helping to make online shopping more mainstream by removing some of the fear previously associated with shopping the channel.”
Every other month, the Retail Forward E-Retail Intelligence Program surveys Internet users regarding online shopping behavior and attitudes and Internet usage. The December 2001 survey was fielded to Internet users who have ever shopped for any products for non-business use from an online shopping site, regardless of purchase, via NFO’s Interactive Panel. The December 2001 survey was fielded from December 26 to Jan. 2 and yielded a sample of 796 Internet users.