December 9, 2003, 12:00 AM

More consumers started online holiday shopping earlier this year than last

The eSpending consumer survey reports that 51% of consumers started their Christmas shopping in November, up from 43% last year. The survey also reports that consumers spent $8.5 billion online in November, 55% ahead of November last year.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

Consumers started their online Christmas shopping earlier this year than last, says the latest eSpending report from Goldman, Sachs & Co., Harris Interactive, and Nielsen/NetRatings.

The eSpending consumer survey reports that 51% of respondents started their Christmas shopping in November, up from 43% who started in November last year. The survey also reports that consumers spent $8.5 billion online in November, 55% ahead of November last year.

The eSpending report also says that online shoppers spent $1.6 billion on apparel in November, 33% more than last year; $758 million on videos and DVDs, a 133% increase over last year; $761 million on books, up 61%; $402 million on music, up 57%. Toys and video games sales were up 32% from a year ago.

"We are very enthusiastic about the significant increase in online spending this holiday season." said Lori Iventosch-James, director of e-commerce research, Harris Interactive. "The increase in spending suggests that more consumers are now shopping online and consumers appear to be spending more online as well."

The report also shows that consumers are finding retail sites directly, with 51% of consumers typing in a URL; 21% going from a bookmark. Nonetheless, 37% of consumers searched for a retail site by going to Google and 25% by going to Yahoo search.

The eSpending Report is based on a weekly national survey of between 800 and 1,700 online shoppers randomly chosen from Harris Interactive`s online panel of survey respondents. The November summary data are based on more than 4,700 responses.

 

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