January 20, 2006, 12:00 AM

Women out-shop men online for first time in ’05 holiday season, study says

The 2005 holiday shopping season marked the first time that more women than men were found to have purchased items online, WebSurveyer says in its 2005 Holiday WebShopper Report.

The 2005 holiday shopping season marked the first time that more women than men were found to have purchased items online, WebSurveyer says in its 2005 Holiday WebShopper Report.

"Our findings show fundamental changes in online buying trends that will require Internet retailers to make a qualitative leap in understanding their customers` needs," says Brian Koma, vice president of services for WebSurveyor.

The survey, conducted among 500 respondents between Dec. 27 and Jan. 3, found that more than half both women and men say they enjoy shopping on the web more than in stores. 74.6% of women aged 31-40 said they prefer the Internet, compared to 56.9% of men in the same age group. Preferences for the web were common in other age groups from 18 to 70, though the differences between male and female responses were not as wide.

Among the report’s other findings:

• Women out-shopped men in every age category, including 75% of women in the 31-40-year-old age group who say the Internet is their preferred purchasing method.

• Large numbers of potential buyers (more than 70%, both men and women) continue to abandon online shopping carts before they complete the purchase process. Among women aged 31-40, the most common reason for cart abandonment was lack of time, for men in the same age group, it was a desire to comparison shop.

• Almost 15% of buyers say they experienced problems in receiving their goods on time.

• Consumers perceive Internet retail sites as less customer-focused than traditional retailers, with more than 65% saying that they buy more unplanned items at a retail store than online. Both men and women in the 18-30-year-old age category were particularly apt to feel this way.

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