January 11, 2011, 3:29 PM

38% of online consumers say they spent more for gifts this holiday season

Consumers cite the convenience of shopping online as the leading reason, exclusive survey says.

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38% of consumers who shopped for holiday gifts online this past season say they spent more money with e-retailers than they did in 2009, according to an exclusive study conducted for Internet Retailer by Lightspeed Research, a market research firm. 32% of consumers say they spent about the same amount online for gifts as in 2009 and 30% say they spent less.

1,000 consumers responded to the Internet Retailer Holiday Shopping Online Survey, which Lightspeed Research conducted online from Dec. 28 to Jan. 4. 

The convenience of online shopping (69%) was the leading reason that drove consumers to spend more online this holiday season. More than half (54%) of those who spent more said online prices were better than prices inside stores. 29% said they were more comfortable with online shopping than last year, 26% said they had more money to spend on gifts and 25% said online retailers e-mailed them more offers they liked.

The majority (73%) of consumers spent less than $300 online for gifts this past holiday. When asked what proportion of their total gift buying they did online, 40% said they did about a quarter of their shopping online. 29% about half and 24% said they did about three-quarters of their shopping online. 7% of consumers said they did all of their holiday gift buying online. 

“There are several key cultural shifts that are influencing e-retail growth, and I believe it ultimately comes down to benefits of both speed and convenience,” says Chris Urinyi, U.S. CEO of Lightspeed Research. “We see a greater comfort with buying goods online, spread across an even wider age group, and more and more people are realizing the incredible speed at which they’re able to not only find products online, but also derive reviews and price comparisons at a moment’s notice.”

Basic economics was the leading reason keeping spending down for the 30% of consumers who spent less online. Two-thirds (66%) of those consumers said they had less money to spend on holiday gifts this season. 20% of said they did not want to pay for shipping, 16% said retail stores had better sales and 16% said they wanted to see or touch products before they purchased. Respondents could choose more than one answer.

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