November 21, 2002, 12:00 AM

88% of women who shopped online last holiday will do so this year

88% of women who shopped online last December intend to do so this year, reports a survey by Vanderbilt University. "Our survey found a sustained movement toward online shopping as a legitimate sales channel" says the survey’s author.

The Internet is becoming part of the shopping routine among women consumers, says a new survey by the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University. The survey reports that 88% of women who shopped online last December intend to do so again this year. "Our survey found a definite, sustained movement toward embracing online shopping as a legitimate sales channel" said Vanderbilt marketing professor Donna Hoffman, director of the survey.

The survey was conducted at Vanderbilt business school`s eLab, an online research center for the study of e-commerce. It randomly polled 286 women age 18 and over in the United States who are members of the eLab`s consumer panel.

The survey showed that women who plan to shop online this holiday season are most likely to buy holiday gifts for their immediate families. The survey also found that nearly a third of women who spend 20 or more hours online per week will purchase a gift for a pet on the Internet.

Women who shop online said the biggest draws are savings in time, ease of getting gift ideas online, fewer hassles compared to stores, no crowds or parking problems, better prices and a wider selection.

Nearly 80% of those sampled were ages 25-54, 64% have been active online for more than five years, and 57% spend more than 20 hours online per week.

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