The annual e-commerce survey of investment bankers Cowen and Co. reports strong increases in spending online. 41% of consumers plan to increase e-commerce spending in 2007, primarily due to the convenience of online shopping, Cowen reports. It also reports that that percentage holds steady across all demographic groups.
Consumers expect to buy 39% of their holiday gifts online, up from 31% a year ago. 33% expect to buy gift cards online vs. 29% last year.
Cowen also reports that eBay and Amazon are reaching the saturation point for U.S. web user penetration. Growth for both will come from increased purchases by existing users. In fact, a third of respondents to Cowen’s survey say they will increase their spending at eBay and Amazon this year.
The survey also provides evidence of the growing importance to retailers of search sites. 55% of consumers are starting their online shopping at search destinations vs. 51% last year. In addition, 60% are using comparison sites, up from 55% last year. In addition, Cowen reports, fewer consumers are beginning the shopping process by going directly to company web sites; for instance, 8% of respondents started their online shopping process at Amazon.com in 2006, compared to 10% in 2005.