December 30, 2003, 12:00 AM

Portals to be the big driver in comparison shopping’s rise, says Forrester

Regular users of online comparison shopping look for price, but they spend more than other online consumers. Once shoppers try it, they’re hooked: while 38% who’ve heard of it like it, 67% who’ve actually used it to buy approve.

Comparison shopping sites such as Shopping.com are raising the online consumer’s awareness of this category of shopping, but it’s portals such as Yahoo that will play the bigger role in making online comparison-shopping mainstream, predicts Forrester Research Inc. in a new report.

 

That’s because they have built-in traffic on a scale that exceeds that of comparison sites and so are better-positioned to introduce a concept still relatively unknown and unused among online consumers. Forrester points out that 64% of online consumers do not recognize what comparison shopping is, yet Yahoo Shopping, which recently embedded a comparison-shopping feature, attracts 16.9 million shoppers a month, drawing from the Yahoo network’s 83 million monthly visitors.

 

“Once other portals embed comparison-shopping results into general search results, consumers will view comparison shopping simply as ‘shopping,’” according to Forrester. Comparison shoppers search for the lowest price on the same item, yet regular comparison shoppers are a lucrative target for online retailers as they tend to spend more than the average online consumer; about 24% more, says Forrester.

Once they’ve had a good purchasing experience from a comparison-shopping site, consumers are hooked. According to Forrester, 38% of online consumers who’ve heard of comparison shopping say it’s a great way to find the best deals, with that approval rating rising to 59% among consumers who’ve actually used an online comparison shopping service and 67% who’ve actually made a purchase after comparison shopping.

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