November 2, 2010, 12:50 PM

Holiday online spending increases 38% in two weeks

Survey finds that Amazon.com is the retailer of choice for early holiday shoppers.

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54% of holiday gift buyers began tackling their shopping lists by late October, new survey data suggest. And consumers spent an average of $142 online for holiday purchases between Oct. 18 and Oct. 24, up from the $103 average between Oct. 3 and Oct. 10, a 38% increase.

Consumers most often turned to Amazon.com for online purchases, with 53% of 1,002 survey respondents saying they made holiday purchases with the world’s largest e-retailer during the week of Oct. 18, according to the Compete Holiday Insights survey from web analytics provider Compete Inc. Trailing Amazon were eBay.com (18%), Walmart.com (12%), Target.com (12%), Overstock.com (9%), Sears.com (5%), BestBuy.com (5%), Macys.com (4%), Toysrus.com (3%), HomeDepot.com (2%) and Kohls.com (2%).

Gift cards also gained ground as a popular choice for holiday gift giving. The survey found that 36% of consumers purchased gift cards during the week of Oct. 18, up from just 6% from the week of Oct. 3. During the week of Oct. 18, consumers also purchased items in the categories of clothing and shoes (46%), toys and games (44%), books (29%), and movies and video games (26%).

E-retailers are courting these early shoppers with early-season marketing messages and offers. A recent Shop.org survey found that 40% of online retailers expected to begin their holiday marketing by Halloween and an additional 40% expected to start holiday messaging this week.

A separate Google-sponsored survey from early October delved into why some shoppers want to shop early for the holidays. 50% of consumers say they shop early to get ahead of the rush, 43% think they can get better prices by starting early and 38% say they start shopping early to be sure they can find the gifts they want.

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