March 8, 2012, 11:40 AM

Online spending will increase in 2012 for one in five shoppers

But PriceGrabber finds 28% of consumers will spend less as gas and food prices rise.

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About one in five online shoppers expect to spend more this year than in 2011, in part because they expect better discounts from retailers, according to a new survey from comparison shopping provider PriceGrabber and its parent company, marketing research firm Experian.

But increases in food  and gas prices will help to depress online spending levels for 28% of consumers, according to the report, based on a survey conducted between Jan. 26 and Feb. 13 of 933 online shoppers in the United States.

Overall, the survey found that:

• 51% of online shoppers expect to spend the same in 2012 as in 2011.

• 28% will spend less.

• 21% will spend more this year than in 2011.

For those consumers who plan to spend more this year, 36% said they were confident in the economy, 36% that they anticipate better discounts from retailers, 30% are earning more, 6% said they are tired of being frugal, 5% said they have increases in their credit limits, and 5% have found jobs within the past year.

For those online shoppers who will spend less in 2012, 40% blamed higher prices for gas, food and other necessities, 34% said they were not confident in the economy, 29% said their wages and salaries had decreased, and 16% said they spent too much during the 2011 holiday shopping season.

“Our data shows that shoppers plan to remain optimistically cautious with their spending again this year and expect retailers to continue to offer deals and incentives on products,” says Graham Jones, general manager of PriceGrabber. “We expect retailers will continue to roll out a number of tactics, such as free shipping, larger discounts and online-only promotions to help win the consumer dollar this year, while implementing strategies that will span bricks-and-mortar, online and mobile shopping platforms to entice consumers to shop.”

In fact, the survey also found that 45% of consumers said they will combine the web, mobile and in-store shopping this year, though the survey did not detail exactly how those respondents will do that. But PriceGrabber says that the average web shopper this year will make 53% of her purchases online, 42% from bricks-and-mortar stores and 5% from mobile phones.

The survey also found that:

• Most consumers planning to spend more in 2012 than in 2011 will devote more retail dollars to consumer electronics and apparel. Online shoppers also plan to spend more on travel.

• 46% of respondents plan to use daily deals more often in 2012 than in 2011. The most sought-after deals are for restaurants and food (53%), followed by retail goods (46%) and entertainment (42%).

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